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Did You Notice? 10.13.2016

As you might already know, I am a life-long Green Bay Packers fan. Come to my office in Battle Ground, and you’ll be hard-pressed to miss my Packer “Wall-of-Fame.” What you might not know is that the first time San Francisco 49er quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, decided not to stand during the national anthem was prior to the preseason game between the Packers and 49ers on August 26th of this year.

Following the Packers v. 49ers game in August, Kaepernick’s protest against, in his words, “a country that oppresses black people and people of color” became a contentious point of debate both in and out of the sports world. As with most things in our culture, almost everyone had an opinion about the merits of sitting or kneeling during the national anthem. From nationally known politicians like Ted Cruz to internationally known supermodels (Kate Upton, if you’re wondering), we learned that almost everyone agrees that Kaepernick has the right to kneel during the national anthem even if we feel that doing so is a bit tacky. So really, we learned nothing . . . because we all already knew that everyone has the freedom to sit during the national anthem, to burn the U.S. flag or to spread their personal feelings across the internet. We also already knew that, generally speaking, conservative white Americans would be more likely to be disgusted with anthem protesters, while non-white liberal Americans would more likely support the peaceful protests.

Then, earlier this week, I was surprised to hear Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (a justice unlikely ever to be identified as conservative, her close friendship with former Justice, Antonin Scalia, notwithstanding) chime in on the Kaepernick protests. In an interview with Katie Couric, Justice Ginsberg called Kaepernick’s actions “stupid” and “arrogant.” She also said the protests by NFL players were “dumb.”

I’m less intrigued by yet another person’s opinions on this matter and more intrigued by the coverage Justice Ginsburg’s comments have (or have not) received by all of us on the internet. I don’t see any responses related to Justice Ginsburg’s comments on the social media sites I partake in, and I had to seek out an article with a link to the interview rather than having the interview pop up on just about every website I visit.

I’m certain that if someone else, perhaps the late Justice Scalia if he was still living or any number of other well-known conservative white guys, used the words “stupid,” “arrogant” or “dumb” related to Kaepernick anthem protests, there would be more outrage or at least more interest.

Why the muted response to Justice Ginsburg? Is it because we give her the benefit of the doubt due to her liberal reputation? Is it because she’s a Supreme Court justice, and we as a culture don’t even know what that is? Is it because August 26th is so long in the past that we, with our 7-second attention spans, have already moved on to more important issues like exploding cell phones and celebrity marriage-breakups?

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More on exploding phones 

Samsung still can’t figure out why Galaxy Note 7 phones are exploding

A shark attack on the Oregon coast?!