In a clip of an interview with Oprah Winfrey, the five-time Super Bowl champion said: "I respect why people are doing what they are doing. And they're doing it for different reasons, and that's OK."
In 2016, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began to kneel during the national anthem to bring awareness to social injustice issues. Last season, numerous players continued to either kneel or lock arms during the anthem. The movement drew increasing criticism from President Donald Trump, as well as many fans who believed it was a sign of disrespect toward the flag and country.
"I've been playing sports long enough [to know] everyone comes from something different, and I think showing respect for everybody, in a locker room, with a team of guys trying to go in the same direction -- you better have that empathy for everybody. That's what sports are about," Brady said.
Last month, NFL owners approved a new policy that requires players to stand if they are on the field during the anthem but gives them the option to remain in the locker room if they prefer.
Brady told Winfrey that the Patriots held "meetings after practice talking about how we wanted to deal with that particular situation."
"We support what people are going through," he said.
The full interview with Brady will air over the weekend on OWN, Winfrey's TV network.