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Donald Trump again weighs in on Colin Kaepernick protest controversy

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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump toned down the rhetoricwhen again weighing in on the controversy surrounding Colin Kaepernick’s decision to protest against social injustice by kneeling during the national anthem.

Trump, during an interview with FOX News’ Bill O’Reilly Wednesday, wouldn’t say exactly how he’d handle the Kaepernick controversy were he the San Francisco 49ers owner.

“He’s making a tremendous amount of money. He’s making a tremendous amount of money,” Trump told O’Reilly, via Yahoo’s Colin Campbell. “He is [living] the American dream. He’s trying to make a point. But I don’t think he is making it the correct way. Personally, if it was me, I would not be happy if I were the team owner.”

When pressed further by O’Reilly how he’d handle such a potentially volatile situation, Trump took time to point out Kaepernick’s right to protest.

“I wouldn’t be happy, they are paying him all of this money,” Trump said. “And I think what he is doing is very bad for the spirit of the country. At the same time, he has the right to protest and that’s one of the beautiful things about the country.”

The last time Trump discussed Kaepernick’s protest movement, he called it a “terrible thing” and suggested the quarterback “should find a country that works better for him.”

It seems Trump’s previous strong stance helped in part shape his less inflammatory comments this time around.

“Let’s keep the headlines down to a minimum,” Trump responded to O’Reilly’s continued questioning on the issue.

The protest movement spawned by Kaepernick has been the biggest story in the NFL so far this season, as well as an issue that has grown far beyond the gridiron. The likes of Marshawn Lynch, Johnny Manziel, a former NFL player-turned-Green Beret — even President Obama — among countless others, have felt compelled to address it.

Kaepernick’s protests have even become a topic in pop culture, from being a subject addressed by “South Park” as well as fodder for video games.

In other words, the issue and the subsequent debate over the protest movement started by Kaepernick isn’t going away anytime soon.