At least Mike Ditka is consistent. The former Chicago Bears coach doubled down on his earlier statement regarding players not standing for the national anthem. In July, Ditka was quoted as saying players who kneel during the anthem should “get the hell out of the country.” Ditka was at it again after Sunday’s football games, reiterating his “get the hell out” comments. Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant had a little message regarding Ditka and his comments.
Mike Ditka blasted Colin Kaepernick in 2016
Mike Ditka’s stance on players not standing for the national anthem hasn’t changed. Ditka made his feelings known back in 2016 when Colin Kaepernick was playing quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem back then as a way of protesting police brutality and social injustice.
Ditka, who was an ESPN analyst at the time, was clear in his message that he didn’t respect anyone who didn’t respect the American flag. According to ESPN, Ditka made his feelings known during a radio interview with 105.3 The Fan in Dallas back in 2016. “I think it’s a problem … anybody who disrespects this country and the flag,” Ditka said. “If they don’t like the country, they don’t like our flag … get the hell out.
“I have no respect for Colin Kaepernick — he probably has no respect for me, that’s his choice,” Ditka added. “My choice is, I like this country, I respect our flag, and I don’t see all the atrocities going on in this country that people say are going on.”
Ditka reiterates his stance on kneeling during the anthem
Back in July, Mike Ditka was asked about professional athletes protesting during the national anthem. Ditka was slated to be the chairman of the X League, a women’s tackle football league. He was asked what his thoughts would be if players protested during the anthem.
“If you can’t respect our national anthem, get the hell out of the country,” Ditka said to TMZ. “That’s the way I feel. Of course, I’m old fashioned, so I’m only going to say what I feel.
“You don’t protest against the flag, and you don’t protest against this country who’s given you the opportunities to make a living playing a sport that you never thought would happen,” Ditka said. “So, I don’t want to hear all the crap.”
Ditka doubles down and Dez Bryant responds
Mike Ditka was at it again Monday. During an interview with Newsmax TV, he blasted those who kneel for the anthem. “Football’s football. It’s not a complicated thing. You’re playing the game, you’re enjoying the game. You don’t like the game, get out of it,” Ditka said. “It’s not for protesting one way or the other. What color you are, what you think, this or that. You play football. That’s it. You’re privileged. You got a gift from God that you can play the game because you got a body you can do it with. I don’t really understand what you’re protesting. I played the game and I coached the game for a long time. It makes no sense to me.
“I would tell those players go to another country and play football there,” Ditka continued. “You don’t have to come out and you don’t have to come out if you go to another country. You can’t! Because the game’s only played in this country. And if you can’t respect this country, get the hell out of it.”
Former Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant responded via Twitter in a very calm manner. “Somebody need to go have a sit down with Mike Ditka,” Bryant wrote. “No arguing, but explain to him what’s going on…feeling entitled at its finest.”