Emmy Award-winning actor Bryan Cranston is defending the NFL protests that have consumed the American conversation in the past several weeks.
Cranston said that he supported Colin Kaepernick and other players who kneel during the National Anthem to protest racial inequality, and sees the injustices they see.
“I think what he’s doing is very patriotic,” Cranston told The Daily Beast during an interview about his upcoming film, “Last Flag Flying,” which also explores patriotism in the U.S. Critics of Kaepernick say kneeling during the anthem–even if for a good cause–is disrespectful to the flag.
“Dissent is one of the pillars of being an American. It’s how our country was formed, through dissension,” Cranston continued. “He is not preventing anyone from singing or partaking in how they want to experience that moment. He’s quietly, respectfully, being silent. I think it’s a beautiful way of protesting the racial injustice that he feels is present. And I share that with him. There is an injustice.”
Kaeprnick, who was the first player to kneel during the anthem during the 2016-2017 season, said at the time that he would not “stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people, and people of color.”
“To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way,” he continued. “There are bodies in the street, and people getting paid leave, and getting away with murder.”
Kaepernick remains unemployed for this season, but has inspired a near avalanche of players in the league to follow his lead.
Last month, Donald Trump joined the conversation to criticize the protests, causing even more players to kneel. Some entire teams have opted to stay in their locker room during the anthem in protest.
Trump began the renewed focus on the protests in September at a rally in Alabama. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b—- of the fieldright now, he’s fired! He’s fired!'” Trump said. He followed those remarks with several tweets about the issue.