Former Bears coach turned sports commentator Mike Ditka threw his two cents in on the National Anthem Kneelers, and suggested that they don’t have the ground to kneel on.
According to the New York Post, Ditka was on with NBC’s Jim Gray as a guest during the Bears-Viking game during Monday Night Football. Gray asked Ditka to comment on Chicago rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisk, but went off about the kneelers instead.
“There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of,” Ditka said. “Now maybe I’m not watching it as carefully as other people. I think the opportunity is there for everybody — race, religion, creed, color, nationality. If you want to work, if you want to try, if you want to put effort in, you can accomplish anything.”
While the statement that there hasn’t been oppression for the last 100 years is erroneous — Ditka is forgetting the civil rights era where the nation fought alongside one another to gain equal rights for the black community — he is 100 percent correct about the opportunity being available for everyone, and that putting in the hard work gets good results.
“I’m not condemning anybody or criticizing anybody. Respect the game. Play the game,” Ditka continued. “When you want to protest, protest when the game is over. Football has been so good to these guys. Enjoy it. Have fun with it.
“I don’t think it’s the stage for protests, I’m sorry,” he added.
Ditka concluded by stating that players who want to disrespect the country should go kneel in another, and that should he still be coaching, he wouldn’t tolerate the disrespectful behavior.
“Yes, I don’t care who you are, how much money you make,” Ditka said. “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 and try to play the sport, you wouldn’t have a job. … If you don’t respect this flag and this country, then you don’t know what this is all about. I would say, adios.”
While the kneeling runs rampant throughout the sport, consistently causing the NFL’s viewership to drop, one team owner is cracking down. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has told his players that should they disrespect the country while the anthem is playing he would bench them immediately.