Colin Kaepernick's form of protest during the national anthem has created one of the most interesting and polarizing national debates -- inside and outside of sports commentary -- in America in 2016.

The effects of Kaepernick's actions have spread throughout the sports world, recently catalyzing Virginia's men's basketball team to make a photographic statement in support of Kaepernick's actions.

Now, a Hall of Fame coach at one of the blueblood programs in college basketball is stating his support for Kaepernick. Roy Williams was initially bothered -- angered -- by Kaepernick's protests. In the weeks since, he's "softened" to the point of agreement of the San Francisco 49ers QB.

Williams, 66, is also not objecting to any UNC players displaying personal signs of protest, should any Tar Heels opt to make their opinions known in the upcoming season. All he wants is for his players to notify him first, and for them to discuss it before any such gesture.

Williams was asked at a press conference on Wednesday what he thought of Kaepernick and possible impending protests in basketball. He gave a thorough, thoughtful answer. Video is below, but here's a transcript of most of his quotes.

"We did talk to them about it," Williams said. "Brought them in the day after Kaepernick's first stance. I don't mind telling you, try to be straightforward every time I can, when he did it at first, it made me very angry. Guy's making 19 million dollars. What do you have to say against our country? And then he explained himself more. I listened better. He wasn't saying this was a bad country. He said we've got not just one particular problem he was taking a stance on. And I think he's correct. So I told that to the team and told them, 'Come on, tell me what you're thinking, feeling, got any questions about it?' And after what happened in Charlotte I had two guys come up and ask me my opinion on that. I think we have a very significant problem throughout our entire country. ...

"Then I told them, I said, 'Tell me. The only thing I want you to do is, I'll be with you -- I may disagree -- but I'll be with you. But don't surprise me.' ... I would. If somebody came in and said, 'Coach, I want to do this,' I would try to understand what he was saying and give him my point of view, and then hopefully a decision would be made. But we do have a marvelous, marvelous place to live. We have some problems that are very much right out in front of us. So I've softened my stance a great deal on Kaepernick, especially after to talked to the Navy SEAL, what the Navy SEAL said about him, that kind of thing. I'm about as patriotic as anybody could possibly be, but it's a very important issue right now."

North Carolina's been a heightened area for debate on discrimination this year. The NCAA recently pulled all postseason tournaments out of the state -- including the NCAA Tournament -- as means of protest against House Bill 2, which is seen by many as discriminatory. The bill has yet to be repealed, and all indications are the NCAA will continue to host postseason events in other states until that changes -- if it changes.

Duke men's basketball was forced to make a late schedule change after the University of Albany was mandated to not play due to New York legislation prohibiting state-funded businesses traveling to North Carolina over objections to House Bill 2. In September, Charlotte was host to huge protests after an African American, Keith Lamont, was killed by law enforcement.

Will we see any protests or symbolic gestures from members on UNC's team? If so, the first opportunity in the regular season will come on Nov. 11, when the Tar Heels travel to play Tulane on -- Veterans Day.

roywilliams14.jpg
Roy Williams is almost never shy when asked to answer any kind of question. USATSI