New York, NY – Former Today show host Katie Couric admitted in her upcoming memoir “Going There” that she protected the late U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg by omitting her comments about athletes kneeling during the National Anthem from a 2016 interview.
Couric interviewed the 83-year-old Ginsburg for Yahoo News and wrote in her memoir that she protected the venerated justice from backlash because she was “elderly and probably didn’t fully understand the question,” according to the Daily Mail.
Bader continued to serve on the nation’s highest court for four more years after that interview.
Couric wrote in her book due out later this month that Ginsberg said that she thought people like former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick were “dumb and disrespectful” for kneeling during the Star-Spangled Banner, the Daily Mail reported.
However, what wasn’t in the story was the fact that Ginsburg told Couric during the interview that kneelers showed “contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life.”
“Which they probably could not have lived in the places they came from… as they became older they realize that this was youthful folly. And that’s why education is important,” the late Supreme Court justice added.
“Would I arrest them for doing it? No,” Ginsburg told Couric during the interview. “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,” the justice continued.
Couric wrote that when she asked if the athletes were within their rights, Ginsburg replied “Yes. If they want to be stupid, there’s no law that should be preventive,” the Daily Mail reported.
“If they want to be arrogant, there’s no law that prevents them from that,” the justice said in the interview. “What I would do is strongly take issue with the point of view that they are expressing when they do that.”
Couric claimed in the memoir due out Oct. 26 that she “lost a lot of sleep over this one” and still questioned whether she made the right call by omitting that part of the interview from her story, the Daily Mail reported.
She wrote that she was a “big RBG fan” and felt “conflicted” because Ginsberg’s comments about kneelers were “unworthy of a crusader for equality.”
But even with the most alarming of Ginsberg’s remarks removed from Couric’s 2016 article, the former journalist said she got a call from the U.S. Supreme Court’s head of public affairs the day after the interview to say that the justice had “misspoken” and asked that the remarks about the disrespecting the National Anthem be struck from the story, the Daily Mail reported.
Couric said her friend, New York Times journalist David Brooks, told her Ginsberg probably hadn’t understood the question.
But she said that former ABC News boss David Westin advised her to keep the comments in the story, the Daily Mail reported.
“She’s on the Supreme Court. People should hear what she thinks,” Couric recalled Weston telling her.
The final version of the story only ended up including Ginsburg’s criticism of “stupid” and “arrogant” protesters, the Daily Mail reported.
Couric claimed in her book that she “wanted to protect” the elderly justice and felt that the issue of racial justice was a “blind spot” for Ginsberg.
Ginsburg died in September of 2020 at age 87, the Daily Mail reported.