Refusing to stand for the National Anthem in protest, as San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and now many others have been doing before games, is “dumb and disrespectful” but of course is constitutionally protected free expression, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says.
“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,” she tells Katie Couric in a Yahoo News interview. “What I would do is strongly take issue with the point of view that they are expressing when they do that.”
Kaepernick has said his refusal to stand during the Star Spangled Banner is an act of protest:
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
As controversy over Kaepernick’s decision spread, the NFL said in a statement: “Players are encouraged, but not required, to stand during the playing of the National Anthem.”