Katie Couric Says She Regrets Censoring RBG’s Denunciation of National Anthem Kneelers

Katie Couric at the 23rd Critics’ Choice Awards in Santa Monica, Calif., November 1, 2018 (Monica Almeida/Reuters)

During a return appearance on NBC’s Today show Tuesday, former anchor Katie Couric said she regrets censoring the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s denunciation of athletes who kneel during the National Anthem to protest racial injustice.

“Ultimately, I think I should have included it,” Couric said Tuesday of RBG’s statement criticizing professional athletes who kneel during pre-game National Anthem ceremonies. Couric reveals that she scrubbed the interview to protect the Justice’s reputation in her newly released memoir Going There.

In her original comment, RBG accused those who kneel during the national anthem of showing “contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life.” Couric justified omitting these words in an article for Yahoo News because she claimed the justice was “elderly and probably didn’t fully understand the question,” according to an excerpt of her new book first reported by the Daily Mail. She also said she believed Ginsburg possibly had a “blind spot” on contemporary racial justice issues.

Ginsburg has long been regarded by the left as a pioneer and champion of civil rights, writing the majority and dissenting opinions in many landmark cases concerning mental disabilities, gender discrimination, and non-citizens. Given that RBG was a liberal justice widely celebrated in mainstream pop culture, Couric insisted she was “protecting” her reputation.

However, Couric pointed out that she did include a comment in the original Yahoo News article in which RGB described the kneeling demonstrations as “dumb and disrespectful.” RBG was interviewed in 2016, the same year African-American NFL football player Colin Kaepernick first began his pre-game protests.

On Tuesday, Couric said she opened up about the decision to remove RBG’s remarks to “be transparent about the decisions we make,” adding that “maybe that wasn’t the right one.”

Couric confessed that, in hindsight, she would have conducted the interview with RBG and its aftermath differently. “What I wish I had done is asked a follow-up to clarify, or just run it and let her clarify it later,” she said.

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