Earlier this month, President Barack Obama defended Colin Kaepernick's constitutional right to kneel during the national anthem as a protest against social inequality. On Wednesday night during a CNN presidential town hall, Obama was asked again about Kaepernick's decision to protest.

The question, from First Lt. James Sutter: "Mr. President, we honor those who have given deep meaning to the phrase 'home of the brave' by making the ultimate sacrifice for the land of the free. Lately, some players in the NFL have been choosing to take a knee during the national anthem, a time which I believe should be reserved to respect our service members. As commander in chief, how do you feel about those NFL players choosing this respected time to voice their opinions?"

Obama's response: "Well, as I've said before, I believe that us honoring our flag and our anthem is part of what binds us together as a nation. But I also always try to remind folks that part of what makes this country special is that we respect people's rights to have a different opinion and to make different decisions about how they want to express their concerns. And the test of our fidelity to our Constitution, to freedom of speech, to our Bill of Rights is not when it's easy, but when it's hard. We fight sometimes so that people can do things that we disagree with, but that's what freedom means in this country.

"My hope would be that as this debate surfaces, we're always reminding ourselves that in a democracy like ours, there are gonna be a lot of folks who do stuff that we just don't agree with. But as long as they're doing it within the law, then we can voice our opinion objecting to it, but it's also their right."

Obama also stressed the importance of both sides listening to the opposition's message.

"And I think that it's also important for us to recognize that sometimes out of these controversies we start getting into a conversation, and I want everybody to listen to each other," the president continued. "So I want Mr. Kaepernick and others who are on a knee, I want them to listen to the pain that that may cause somebody who for example had a spouse or a child who was killed in combat and why it hurts them to see somebody not standing. But I also want people to think about the pain that he may be expressing about somebody who's lost a loved one that they think was unfairly shot.

"And one of the things I always say about American democracy is that it can be frustrating but it's the best system we got. The only way that we make it work is to see each other, listen to each other, try to be respectful of each other, not just go into separate corners. And I do hope that anybody who's trying to express any political view of any sort understands that they do so under the blanket of protection of our men and women in uniform, and that that appreciation of that sacrifice is never lost."

In recent weeks, we've heard detractors call Kaepernick "as disrespectful as any athlete has ever been," say that backup quarterbacks should stay quiet, and suggest that he should "get the hell out" of the United States.

Meanwhile, Kaepernick has the full support of his coach, Chip Kelly, who said last week: "I think it's an issue," Kelly said of the recent shootings. "You look at what's gone on in Tulsa and in Charlotte the last two nights, it's an issue that's at the forefront of our country. And it needs to be addressed and be taken care of because what's going on is not right. So I think, again, [Kaepernick's] shedding light on a situation that is heinous. And shouldn't happen in this country. We all have inalienable rights as a citizen and this country and they're being violated. And I think that's what Colin is standing up for."

On Sunday, Kaepernick said he appreciated of Kelly's support.

"I think he's a strong man," the quarterback said. "I don't know if he realizes how much that means to me and if he realizes how much that means to these people, to these communities. The fact that he was willing to take a strong stand and say these things aren't right -- that's huge coming from a head coach."