Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has retracted a statement criticizing NFL player Colin Kaepernick as “dumb and disrespectful” for kneeling during the national anthem.
She said her comments were “inappropriately dismissive and harsh.” Ginsburg had received criticism from left-wing activists for straying from the accepted orthodoxy that Kaepernick is making a valid statement with his protests.
“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,” Ginsburg’s statement read. “Barely aware of the incident or its purpose, my comments were inappropriately dismissive and harsh. I should have declined to respond.”
It’s the second time in recent months that the 83-year-old Ginsburg has apologized for public comments. She said her comments criticizing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in July were “ill advised.”
The latest controversy arose after Ginsburg commented on Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the anthem, since adopted by other football players and athletes in other sports. She said the athletes have the right to protest “if they want to be stupid.”
Kaepernick had a measured response to Ginsburg’s initial comments.
“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, according to The San Jose Mercury News.
Actually, Ginsburg had it just about right. Kaepernick’s wildly exaggerated rhetoric about “oppression” and cops getting away with murder deserved a harsh response.
But the left demands ideological purity, and speaking against the protests in any way is suggestive of racism. Ginsburg beat a posthaste retreat.
This isn’t the first time that a Democrat has said something sensible only to have pressure brought to bear by activists, forcing them to change their minds. During the Democratic primary campaign, Martin O’Malley was pilloried by Black Lives Matter for saying that “all lives matter.” He groveled in public the next day, begging forgiveness.
Also, just recently, Bill Clinton called Obamacare “the craziest system in the world” only to say the next day Obamacare “did a world of good” after being browbeaten by the left.
This is the totalitarian impulse that’s part of the left’s makeup, and woe betide the luckless lefty who strays from the approved message.