Ruth Bader Ginsburg Says She Never Should've Waded Into Colin Kaepernick Controversy

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is walking back comments she made earlier this week about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision not to stand during the the national anthem.

In an interview to promote her first book, My Own Words, Ginsburg told Yahoo’s Katie Couric that the football player’s stance was “dumb.” A few days later, Kaepernick replied that the justice’s criticism was “disappointing,” according to The Mercury News.

In a statement Friday, Ginsburg appeared contrite about her remarks.

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

Ginsburg’s response suggests she wasn’t up to speed on the impetus behind Kaepernick’s protest or what it meant in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement and demonstrations against police brutality.

More than a few fans and followers of the 83-year-old justice were not too happy with her comments.

Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern wrote a thoughtful column about the mishap and why many progressives who otherwise support people of color’s struggles for equality still have a hard time standing in complete solidarity with them.

“What would emerge [from the controversy] is a justice — admirable but imperfect, like any icon — who argues passionately for minority rights in the abstract without fully understanding how each new generation puts those principles into practice,” Stern wrote. He pointed to rulings in which Ginsburg has stood as a staunch defender of voting rights for black people.

“One can disagree without being disagreeable,” wrote the founders of a Tumblr page dedicated to the Notorious RBG, Ginsburg’s internet moniker. “Regarding her recent remarks about athletes’ peaceful protest, we respectfully disagree.”

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