Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg walked back her comments dismissing Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protests as “dumb and disrespectful.”
“Some of you have inquired about a book interview in which I was asked how I felt about Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players who refused to stand for the national anthem,” the 83-year-old jurist explained in a statement released by the court Friday. “Barely aware of the incident or its purpose, my comments were inappropriately dismissive and harsh. I should have declined to respond.”
Kaepernick began his protest by sitting for “The Star Spangled Banner” during the preseason. He continues by kneeling for the anthem. His anti-American gesture subsequently inspired a handful of NFL players to do likewise, as well as scores of college and high school athletes. He cites police brutality and racism as issues motivating his movement.
The 49ers quarterback starts for struggling San Francisco this weekend as they take on the Buffalo Bills.
Ginsburg delivered her initial critique of the anthem protestors while promoting her book My Own Words during an interview with Katie Couric. Her own words, for the second time this year, came back to haunt her. The Bill Clinton-appointed justice called Donald Trump a “faker” this summer before calling the comments about Hillary Clinton’s election opponent “ill advised.”
Earlier this week Ginsburg assessed the behavior of Kaepernick and his imitators as stupid but not illegal.
“Would I arrest them for doing it?” Ginsburg asked. “No. I think it’s dumb and disrespectful. 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. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act.”