Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Kaepernick's national anthem protest is 'dumb and disrespectful'

Posted October 13

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg didn't mince words in a recent interview with Yahoo! news anchor Katie Couric, saying athletes' decisions to protest the national anthem by refusing to stand is "dumb and disrespectful."

Ginsburg, 83, made her remarks while commenting on the controversial trend of taking a knee during "The Star-Spangled Banner" — an act of protest founded by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick that has subsequently been adopted by athletes across the country in recent weeks.

The move serves as a silent form of pushback against police brutality and the treatment of African-Americans at the hands of cops.

Watch Ginsburg's comments here.

When Couric asked Ginsburg about the decision to protest the national anthem in this way, the Supreme Court Justice said she "thinks it's really dumb of them," saying she feels the same about those who burn the American flag.

“Would I arrest them for doing it? No. I think it’s dumb and disrespectful," Ginsburg said. "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 continued, "I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act."

And the liberal Supreme Court justice wasn't done there.

While Ginsburg said players such as Kaepernick have the right to take a knee during the anthem, she, again, referred to the act as "stupid" and pointed to what she sees as arrogance, reiterating that if "they want to be stupid, there's no law that should be preventive."

Couric and Ginsburg also discussed other topics during the interview, including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Ginsburg, who was nominated in 1993 by Clinton's husband — former President Bill Clinton — lavished praise upon the Democratic candidate.

"For me, it’s very refreshing to see a woman with the knowledge that she has, with the poise and the — command of language," she said.

As for the justice's comments about Kaepernick, she's received a bit of pushback since the interview was published Monday.

The Daily Beast recapped some of the controversy but was careful to note Ginsburg's comments do not show that she opposes movements like Black Lives Matter, or even the overarching message Kaepernick is embracing; her remarks simply spoke to her disagreement with the method of protest.

Some have taken to Twitter, though, to make their voices heard on the matter.

"No, Justice Ginsburg. It is not 'dumb and disrespectful,'" wrote immigration activist and former journalist Jose Antonio Vargas. "Nothing more patriotic than constructive criticism, which is what Kaepernick does."

And Mat dos Santos, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Oregon, said he was shocked by Ginsburg's comments on the matter.

"This response from Ginsburg kind of shocks me," he wrote. "I guess I don't agree with everything that passes through RBG's lips."

Singer Ne-Yo also responded by calling the Supreme Court Justice's remarks stupid, while saying that he expected more from her.

"You're a Supreme Court justice," he said. "I expected better."

As for Kaepernick, the player hasn't yet taken to Twitter to issue a response.

Kaepernick plans to donate $100,000 every month to community organizations and causes that combat police brutality.

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