Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg slams quarterback Colin Kaepernick for 'dumb' national anthem protests

Bader Ginsburg likened the protests to flag burning – an act she condemns, but would not arrest somebody for it

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The Independent US

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg does not agree the recent protests by NFL players against violent oppression of black people in the United States – in fact, she thinks such actions are “dumb”, “disrespectful”, and “ridiculous”. 

The protests gained national attention at the end of August when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first refused to stand during the country’s national anthem, traditionally played at the beginning of a game. 

Shortly after, players across the league began kneeling during the anthem in solidarity with Kaepernick, amid calls for the 49ers to sack the quarterback. 

Despite the issues at the root of the protests – namely the routine killing of black people by police officers – Justice Ginsburg, 83, takes offence to the action, but defended their right to do so.

“I think it’s really dumb of them,” Ms Ginsburg told Katy Couric in a Monday interview promoting her new book My Own Words. “Would I arrest them for doing it? No.” 

“I think it’s dumb and disrespectful,” she added. “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.”

Ms Ginsburg warned that it would be “dangerous to arrest people for conduct that doesn’t jeopardise the health or well-being of other people”. 

She reiterated her point: “If they want to be stupid … if they want to be arrogant, there’s no law that prevents them for that.”

However, Kaepernick maintains that he is not staging the protest for himself, but instead using his platform to amplify “people that don’t have a voice” in order to “effect change.” 

“I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed,” he told reporters in August. “When there’s significant change and I feel that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, and this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”