Colin Kaepernick told reporters that he’s disappointed by the words of Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who called his protests “dumb and disrespectful.”
“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, via the San Jose Mercury News.
“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.”
Ginsburg apologized for her remarks on Friday. In a statement, she claimed that she was “barely aware” of Kaepernick’s protest and the reasons for it, adding that her comments were "inappropriately dismissive and harsh."
Her statement read:
"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. Barely aware of the incident or its purpose, my comments were inappropriately dismissive and harsh. I should have declined to respond."
Kaepernick started a movement in August when he chose to sit during the national anthem to protest the treatment of minorities in the United States and police brutality. He has since been joined by many NFL players, although a recent poll showed that many Americans disapproved of the protests.
In an interview with Katie Couric of Yahoo!, Ginsburg said she thought the decision to protest during the national anthem was “really dumb of them.”
“I think it’s dumb and disrespectful,” Ginsburg said. “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.
“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.”
Kaepernick says that Ginsburg and others are “getting too caught up in the flag” and allowing it to blind them to his message.
“At the end of the day the flag is just a piece of cloth and I am not going to value a piece of cloth over people’s lives,” Kaepernick said. “That’s just not something I can do, it’s not something I feel morally right doing and my character won’t allow me to do that.”
Friday afternoon, Ginsburg issued a statement of regret over her comments on Kaepernick:
Justice Ginsburg on Kaepernick and National Anthem protests: I should not have said that pic.twitter.com/eQMQAWbo1d— Todd Ruger (@ToddRuger) October 14, 2016
Kaepernick has been the backup quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers since he was benched in Nov. 2015, but was named the starter for the team’s Week 6 game against the Buffalo Bills.