Just days after criticizing San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s ongoing protests of the national anthem as “dumb and disrespectful,” Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is walking back her comments.
In a brief statement, Ginsburg addressed her…notorious remarks, saying:
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. Barely aware of the incident or its purpose, my comments were inappropriately dismissive and harsh. I should have declined to respond.
Ginsburg’s criticism of Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem came during an interview with Yahoo’s Katie Couric on Monday, where the 83-year-old justice explained that, while she wouldn’t arrest the football star for his protests, “I think it’s dumb and disrespectful.”
“I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning,” Ginsburg continued.”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.”
Ginsburg’s criticism of Kaepernick’s acts, which he’s stated are a response to the ongoing racial injustices faced by black communities in the United States, were shocking to many people who, having embraced the “Notorious RBG” meme, seemed surprised that an 83-year-old white Supreme Court justice wouldn’t automatically have the most progressive views on protest imaginable.
Kaepernick himself responded to Ginsburg’s criticism on Tuesday, calling it “disappointing.”
“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,” he told reporters in the 49ers locker room. “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”
Friday’s retraction by Ginsburg is the second time in recent months the justice has had to walk back potentially incendiary comments. In July, Ginsburg described Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump as a “faker” with “no consistency.” Shortly thereafter she apologized, calling her remarks “ill-advised,” and promising that “in the future I will be more circumspect.”