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Ruth Bader Ginsburg Weighs In On NFL Anthem Protests, Calling Them ‘Dumb And Disrespectful’

The beloved, liberal Supreme Court justice isn’t with activists on this one

In a recent interview with Katie Couric, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg weighed in on the recent National Anthem protests that have been spearheaded by Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players. Simply put, she’s not a fan of the protests.

While she was careful to maintain that she wouldn’t seek to legally prevent the players from engaging in the display, she did use some pretty strong language in conveying that she found it distasteful. In fact, she used many evocative words to express her thoughts on the matter.


She led with:

“I think it’s really dumb of them. Would I arrest them for doing it? No. I think it’s dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning.”

She then took a more measured response in the context of her being a Supreme Court Justice and, thus, an extremely influential policymaker. Ginsburg stated that she found no good reason to seek legal recourse in response to the actions of the kneeling players.

“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. But it’s dangerous to arrest people for conduct that doesn’t jeopardize the health or well-being of other people.”

But as quickly as she reverted to speaking as a restrained civil servant, she fell back to her personal feelings on the matter, letting fly with:

If they want to be stupid, there’s no law that should be preventive. 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.”

Since Kaepernick first engaged in this form of protest almost two months ago, many other football players at all levels and athletes in other sports have adopted it to speak against civil injustice in the United States. It’s unlikely that her comments will do anything to quell the uproar around the act, but that probably isn’t her chief motivation, given her stance on the matter.

UPDATE: Later in the week Ginsburg backtracked from her condemnation of Kaepernick’s protest, describing her previous comments as being “inappropriately dismissive and harsh.”

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