Former Chicago Bears great Mike Ditka has become quite vocal about his stance concerning kneeling during the national anthem. During this past offseason, his strong comments caught much attention due to his stern criticism toward those that went that route. With that in mind, Ditka has doubled down on his viewpoint of the entire situation.
Mike Ditka’s strong stance against kneeling
Over the years, Hall of Famer Mike Ditka hasn’t been one to bite his tongue on any topic concerning the NFL.
Although Ditka no longer has a media presence as an analyst, he has remained a relevant figure in the league over the last few months. Much of which has come after his strong comments to TMZ Sports back in July that criticized NFL players who kneeled by stating that they should leave the United States.
“If you can’t respect our national anthem, get the hell out of the country,” Ditka said. “That’s the way I feel. Of course, I’m old fashioned, so I’m only going to say what I feel.”
Ditka also stated that players shouldn’t protest during the national anthem because they are making a living through playing football. His strong sentiment caught much backlash and saw many fans come out with firm support of his stance toward kneeling.
The discussion around that situation has remained a burning topic. There has been strong sentiment on both sides that has created a lingering matter. With that said, Ditka has now doubled down on his stance.
Mike Ditka voices strong message to NFL players that kneel
It’s clear as day where Mike Ditka stands regarding kneeling during the national anthem.
The 80-year-old further cemented his viewpoint during an interview on Newsmax TV on Sunday, stating that NFL players shouldn’t protest because he believes it should only be about the game of football.
“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. 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. I coached the game for a long time. It makes no sense to me.”
Ditka also doubled down on telling NFL players that chose to kneel to play in another country. His stance is quite firm, with his belief centered on kneeling being a disrespectful act toward the American flag. However, there doesn’t appear to be an understanding of the reasoning behind kneeling that is solely based on bringing awareness and create action toward ending social injustice.
The conflict in this situation lies in the belief that these issues shouldn’t have a place in sports. That stance stems from the notion that athletes should “stick to sports” rather than use their platform to discuss social issues.
NFL players will continue to push for social change
Hall of Famer Mike Ditka has further marked where he stands on kneeling during the national anthem.
It’s clearly an action that evokes plenty of emotion from Ditka. However, it’s a matter that has drawn a strong push from many athletes in the sports world, emphasizing the need for change. Many prominent NFL prominent players such as Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Michael Thomas, Odell Beckham Jr., and JJ Watt have vocalized the need for social justice.
Ditka may not be a fan of how the players are pushing for social change, but their efforts will continue.