In an ongoing public conversation, where the two haven't talked face to face, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said he felt what a liberal Supreme Court justice had to say about his choice to kneel during the national anthem as "disappointing."
“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 Wednesday. The question came up as reporters were there to ask him what it felt like to start as QB against the Buffalo Bills instead of Blaine Gabbert, the Mercury News reported.
On Monday, Yahoo News posted an interview with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who told Katie Kouric that she thought Kaepernick's decision to not stand during the national anthem to bring awareness to issues of police brutality against people of color "really dumb." Nevertheless, Ginsburg also said that Kaepernick had a right to protest without fear of being arrested.
"I think it's dumb and disrespectful," Ginsburg said in the interview. "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."
She also called Kaepernick, and those who choose not to stand during the national anthem "arrogant."
"If they want to be stupid, there's no law that should be preventive," Ginsburg said in the interview. "If they want to be arrogant, there's no law that prevents them from that. What I would do is strongly take issue with the point of view that they are expressing when they do that."
What's unusual about Ginsburg's comments is that she sits on the far left of the U.S. Supreme Court. And while Kaepernick has drawn ire from many in the country for what critics see as his disrespect of the American flag, most of his supporters have been progressive liberals, who have cheered his civil disobedience to shed light on the deaths of African-American men at the hands of police officers.
The public information office of the U.S. Supreme Court did not immediately respond on Thursday to a request for clarification on Ginsburg's remarks.
But major publications, such as the progressively political The Nation, have called her out on her comments. In a piece titled, "Ruth Bader Ginsburg Could Not be More Wrong About Colin Kaepernick," author Dave Zirin takes issue with Ginsburg calling Kaepernick "arrogant."
In fact, Zirin writes: "It is arrogant for a Supreme Court justice to make no mention of the ways in which the American legal system has failed black Americans, especially the families of those whose loved ones have been killed by a police officer’s bullets."
And Mark Joseph Stern, a writer for Slate, said that Ginsburg's name calling of Kaepernick's shows that the 83-year-old might not be as liberal as the world thinks and is "notably detached from the brewing social unrest over racist police abuse."
He added the "Notorious RBG" myth of Ginsburg actually shows her to be a "wealthy high-society" opera lover whose progressive intellectual ideals are increasingly disconnected from today's new civil rights movement."