Interviewing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on a variety of contemporary topics for Yahoo! News, Katie Couric learned that the 83-year-old justice, notoriously compassionate and cool, is rather dispassionate and even dismissive when it comes to black and brown athletes who are choosing to protest the national anthem, following the lead of San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick. Kapernick's refusal to stand during the anthem — instead he now takes a knee — as a means to publicly protest institutionalized racism and police brutality toward black men in particular has thrust him into the center of a heated argument about patriotism, sports, and race.
The player gained even more attention for his cause earlier this month, appearing kneeling on the cover of the October 3rd issue of Time magazine.
Ginsburg wasn't impressed. “Would I arrest them for doing it? No,” the jurist told Couric. “I think it’s dumb and disrespectful. 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.” Of course, Justice Scalia, were he alive, would likely disagree. I'm inclined to think he would have argued they SHOULD be arrested for their opinions.
Hardly as condemnatory as the Supreme Court Justice's remarks are the words of Barack Obama on the subject. USA Today quotes the commander-in-chief as calling Kaepernick's actions "messy," though he added that “I’d rather have young people who are engaged in the argument and trying to think through how they can be part of our democratic process than people who are just sitting on the sidelines not paying attention at all."