Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg backed off her recent comments criticizing NFL players who protest the national anthem before games. In a statement released to NBC News Friday, Ginsburg said she should not have commented on the protests at all.
“Barely aware of the incident or its purpose, my comments were inappropriately dismissive and harsh,” the statement read. “I should have declined to respond.”
When asked during a recent Yahoo News interview with Katie Couric, Ginsburg said of the ongoing protests, “I think it’s dumb and disrespectful.”
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“I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it’s a terrible thing to do,” she told Couric, but added that she “wouldn’t lock up a person for doing it.”
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the wave of protests when he declined to stand during the pre-game performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" before a preseason contest against the Green Bay Packers in August. He explained that he was protesting the national anthem to draw attention to the oppression of black people and other minorities, and particularly to police brutality toward black people.
Since Kaepernick’s move, athletes from the NFL and beyond have continued the movement. The NFL has said that players are encouraged but not required to stand during the anthem.