MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Former Gov. Jesse Ventura is throwing his two cents in on the controversy that’s still rocking the sports world.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has incited ire and support in recent weeks after he began kneeling during the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner” before games.

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“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said last month in his defense. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Since then, a number of other athletes have started engaging in similar demonstrations:

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This week, the former Navy SEAL Ventura took a moment to express his opinions about Kaepernick’s protest, calling him “a man of his convictions.”

“I salute Colin Kaepernick. I fully support him,” Ventura said. “That’s why I served my country, so that you have the freedom to protest. If we don’t like protesting, what’s next?”

Ventura said the issue isn’t whether he agrees with him, but rather whether he supports his right to express his opinions.

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“Who’s he harming? When I was governor of Minnesota, the Dems and Repubs tried to nail me. You know what they did? They passed a law requiring the Pledge of Allegiance for all public school children. I immediately vetoed it,” Ventura said. “You know why? Because governments should not mandate patriotism. Governments earn patriotism. Who mandated patriotism? The Germans in the 1930s.”