Justice Ginsburg issues statement on criticism of Kaepernick's protests

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 18: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg participates in an annual Women's History Month reception hosted by Pelosi in the U.S. capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. This year's event honored the women Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court: Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)
Caption
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 18: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg participates in an annual Women's History Month reception hosted by Pelosi in the U.S. capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. This year's event honored the women Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court: Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not fond of athletes refusing to stand for the National Anthem in protest.

Specifically, Ginsburg says the protest is "dumb and disrespectful."

>> Read more trending stories

"If they want to be stupid, there's no law that should be preventive. If they want to be arrogant, there's no law that prevents them from that," Ginsburg told Katie Couric in a Yahoo News interview. "What I would do is strongly take issue with the point of view that they are expressing when they do that."

"I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it's a terrible thing to do, but I wouldn't lock a person up for doing it," she said. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act."

Kaepernick has said his refusal to stand during the Star Spangled Banner is an act of protest saying, "I am not going to 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. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

As controversy over Kaepernick's decision spread, the NFL said in a statement that "players are encouraged, but not required, to stand during the playing of the National Anthem."

Kaepernick responded to Ginsburg's comments in an interview with The Mercury News.

"It is disappointing to hear a Supreme Court justice call a protest against injustices and oppression ‘stupid, dumb’ in reference to players doing that," Kaepernick said.

"I was reading an article and it refers to white critique of black protests and how they try to de-legitimize it by calling it ‘idiotic, dumb, stupid,’ things of that nature, so they can sidestep the real issue. As I was reading that I saw more and more truth how this has been approached by people in power and white people in power in particular."

Reuters reported Friday that Ginsberg issued a statement after fallout from her comments in the interview.

"Barely aware of the incident or its purpose, my comments were inappropriately dismissive and harsh. I should have declined to respond," Ginsburg said.

About the Author