Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest has now drawn a reaction from a member of the highest court in the land, which depending on how you look at it, speaks to its effectiveness.
If Kaepernick’s true aim is to call attention to the country’s issues with police brutality and racial injustice, the jury’s still out on whether he’s succeeding. But there’s no denying one thing; he’s certainly succeeded in stirring the pot.
The latest luminary to weigh in on the Kaepernick protest is Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who, in an interview with Katie Couric, chastised the demonstrations as “dumb and disrespectful,” but at the same time defended the rights of Kaepernick and other NFL players to do so.
“I think it’s really dumb of them,” Ginsburg said. “Would I arrest them for doing it? No. 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. If they want to be stupid, there’s no law that should be preventive. If they want to be arrogant, there’s no law that prevents them from that. What I would do is strongly take issue with the point of view that they are expressing when they do that.”
Yet, while reaction to Kaepernick’s protest has been essentially split down the middle since he first took a knee during a preseason game back in August, if the story itself has tapered off any, it’s only because media coverage of it has shifted.
In addition to other NFL players supporting Kaepernick with their own protests—during the national anthem some have kneeled, others have raised fists—a growing number of high school and youth league football players across the country have also joined the protest. And despite the possibility of death threats and repercussions from schools and organizations.
Whether there’s any end in sight to Kaepernick’s actions could be answered as soon as this coming weekend, as the sixth-year 49ers quarterback is expected to take over the start Sunday against the Bills.