Chicago Bears hero and NFL legend Mike Ditka didn’t hold back when asked to weigh-in on professional athletes’ protest of the national anthem, saying if you “don’t respect our country” you should go play football someplace else.
Ditka blasted the protesting players during an interview on sports radio Monday, slamming the athletes for “taking a knee” during the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ and urging the players to “protest when game’s over.”
Chicago Bears legend Mike Ditka was asked about the protests while he was on Jim Gray‘s radio show, and he wasn’t afraid to speak his mind. Ditka stated:
“I don’t see a lot of respect for the game. I just see respect for their own individual opinions. Opinions are like noses — we all have one. Some are good, some are bad. Respect the game, play the game. When you want to protest, protest when the game’s over. Protest whatever other way you want to. Football has been so good to those guys. Football has been so good to me.”
Ditka was then asked if he would have a policy requiring his players to stand if he were a coach and responded without hesitation:
“Yes, I don’t care who you are, how much money you make. If you don’t respect our country, then you shouldn’t be in this country playing football. Go to another country and play football. If you had to go somewhere else to play the sport, you wouldn’t have a job. That would be my take. If you can’t respect the flag and the country then you don’t respect what this is all about. So I would say adios.”
Then, Ditka was asked about oppression:”I think that you have to be color blind in this country. You have to look at a person for what he is and what he stands for and how he produces. Not by the color of his skin. That has never had anything to do with anything. But all of a sudden, it’s become a big deal now — about oppression.
“I think that you have to be color blind in this country. You have to look at a person for what he is and what he stands for and how he produces. Not by the color of his skin. That has never had anything to do with anything. But all of a sudden, it’s become a big deal now — about oppression.
There’s been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of. Maybe I’m not watching as carefully as other people. I think the opportunity is there for everybody.
If you want to work, if you want to try, if you want to put effort in, I think you can accomplish anything. And we’ve watched that throughout our history of our country. People rise to the top and they became very influential people in our country by doing the right thing.
You got a ballot box, you got an election. That’s where you protest. You elect the person you want to be in office. If you don’t get that person in office, I think you respect the other one that’s all. Period.”