If Mike Ditka were still coaching, it appears that he would go beyond just benching players who didn’t stand for the national anthem. “I would say ‘adios,'” the former coach and ESPN analyst said Monday in a radio interview with Westwood One Sports. “If you don’t respect our country, you shouldn’t be in this country playing football. Go to another country.” He initially praised one’s right to protest, Ditka said athletes should “respect the game” and “protest whatever other way you want to” off the field. But Ditka, an early supporter of Donald Trump, also stressed that the place to protest is at “a ballot box” and people should “respect” election outcomes, per the Washington Post.
“If you don’t respect our country, you shouldn’t be in this country playing football” – Mike Ditka
“I don’t see a lot of respect for the game, I just see respect for their own individual opinions,” Ditka added of protesting athletes, whom he suggested had no reason to be upset. “There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of,” he said. “I think the opportunity is there for everybody.” Mediate notes the 77-year-old must’ve forgotten about segregation and “the systemic lynching of black individuals in the Jim Crow era of the South,”
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