U.S. Justice Ginsburg backtracks on criticism of NFL's Kaepernick

Fri Oct 14, 2016 3:49pm EDT
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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.   Continued...

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick throws a pass before the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports