Justice Ginsburg backtracks on criticism of NFL's Kaepernick
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[October 15, 2016]
By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Supreme
Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday called her criticism of
National Football League player Colin Kaepernick "inappropriately
dismissive and harsh" and said she should not have commented on his
protest against racism and police brutality in the United States.
Ginsburg, a liberal justice, told Yahoo News on Monday that
Kaepernick was "dumb and disrespectful" for refusing to stand during
the national anthem before games.
"Barely aware of the incident or its purpose, my comments were
inappropriately dismissive and harsh. I should have declined to
respond," Ginsburg said in her statement on Friday.
In the Yahoo News interview, Ginsburg equated Kaepernick's actions
to burning the American flag. "I think it's a terrible thing to do,
but I wouldn't lock a person up for doing it," she said.
Kaepernick on Wednesday told reporters that Ginsburg's comments were
"disappointing," according to media reports.
The statement marked the second time in three months that Ginsburg,
the eldest member of the Supreme Court at age 83, backtracked on
comments she had made to the media. On July 14, she issued a
statement of regret calling remarks she had made criticizing
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump "ill-advised."
In media interviews, she had called Trump "a faker" and joked about
moving to New Zealand if he were to win the Nov. 8 election.
Supreme Court justices generally shy away from publicly discussing
politics or other divisive issues.
[to top of second column]
Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg arrives to watch
U.S. President Barack Obama's State of the Union address to a joint
session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, January
20, 2015. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo - RTSHXMG
Kaepernick is a quarterback who plays for the San Francisco 49ers.
He initially refused to stand for the national anthem before a
preseason game in August. Since then, he has kneeled during the
playing of the anthem. Some other NFL players and athletes in other
sports have followed Kaepernick's example with similar gestures.
Kaepernick's actions contributed to a national debate about race
relations, policing and the mixing of politics and sports. President
Barack Obama, the first black U.S. president, last month defended
Kaepernick's right to protest.
Kaepernick this week was named as his team's starting quarterback
and is set to play against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)
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