Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg generated controversy and backlash after criticizing San Fancisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick‘s ongoing protest of police violence by kneeling during the national anthem. Kaepernick referenced racial power dynamics when addressing the Justice’s comments yesterday (October 11).
"It is disappointing to hear a Supreme Court justice call a protest against injustices and oppression ‘stupid, dumb’ in reference to players doing that," said Kaepernick during a locker room press conference. "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."
Justice Bader Ginsburg commented on Kap’s protest in a Yahoo News interview with Katie Couric on Monday (October 10). While affirming his and other NFL players‘ legal right to protest, she called it "dumb and disrespectful" and put it in the same category as flag-burning.
Speaking on the anger his protest generates, Kap added during the press conference that "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."
Kap’s rebuke of Justice Bader Ginsburg’s comments came right after 49ers coach Chip Kelly announced that the quarterback would come off the bench to start against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday (October 16). Although the replacement ostensibly has nothing to do with Kap’s protests, it does seemingly dismiss early speculation that the quarterback intended for his actions to force the 49ers to release him.