Fooch’s update: RBG released a statement through the Supreme Court in which she says she was “[b]arely aware of the incident or its purpose,” and that her comments, “were inappropriately dismissive and harsh.” She said she instead should have declined to respond. Here’s the statement:
"Some of you have inquired about a book interview in which I was asked how I felt about Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players who refused to stand for the national anthem," Ginsburg's statement read. "Barely aware of the incident or its purpose, my comments were inappropriately dismissive and harsh. I should have declined to respond."
Earlier this week, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in an interview that Colin Kaepernick’s protest, and those of the other athletes involved, was “dumb and disrespectful.” She did not begrudge them the right to engage their right to protest, but she did, “strongly take issue with the point of view that they are expressing when they do that.”
Kaepernick was asked about those comments following his first press conference as the 49ers new starting quarterback. Elliott Almond of the San Jose Mercury News appears to have been the person speaking with him, and Kaepernick offered up this:
“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 by his locker after speaking to reporters about taking over for Blaine Gabbert.
“I was reading an article and it refers to white critique of black protests and how they try to de-legitimize it by calling it ‘idiotic, dumb, stupid,’ things of that nature, so they can sidestep the real issue. As I was reading that I saw more and more truth how this has been approached by people in power and white people in power in particular.”
People have said he is disrespecting the flag, disrespecting veterans, and disrespecting a whole host of other groups. Kaepernick has pointed to why he thinks some people continually push the flag and patriotism in their critiques of his protest.
“There’s a lot of racism in this country disguised as patriotism and people want to take everything back to the flag but that’s not what we’re talking about,” he said on Tuesday. “We’re talking about racial discrimination, inequalities and injustices that happen across the nation.”
Kaepernick has been trying to push the discussion toward the issues of systemic racism that exist in the country. People have asked Kaepernick to do more, beyond the $1 million donation and the donation he plays of his jersey proceeds. But given the response we have started to see around the NFL and around sports in general, one could argue his impact is already dramatic.
- Recently, the New York Giants had a mix of 25 black and white players sit down to discuss issues of race. They brought in New Jersey Senator Cory Booker to help try and focus the discussion.
- Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin called on state attorney generals to review police training and practices in a manner similar to what has happened in Ohio. He was subsequently invited by the Washington state attorney general to discuss police violence.
- Miami Dolphins players organized a town hall on race relations that included local police, community and youth leaders, and players.
These are just a few examples of what is developing around the country. The decision of Colin Kaepernick and other players to take a knee or organize some other form of demonstration during the National Anthem has helped create some semblance of dialogue. It probably will not be what solves, or even comes close to solving racial issues in America, but it is moving this thing forward.
More than talk is going to be needed, and we have seen monetary donations, and players working in their respective communities. But the prominence of professional athletes taking this kind of stand cannot be underestimated. And when we look back on this down the road, I think more critics will recognize Kap and others were on the right side of history.