Here's What Mike Ditka Had To Say About Those Who Kneel During National Anthem

Any player who kneels in protest during the national anthem before National Football League games “disrespects this country and the flag,” according to Hall of Fame tight end Mike Ditka.

The legendary former gridiron star and coach has been consistent in his condemnation of the protests since San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee at a pre-season game in 2016 to raise awareness about racial inequality. Other players have since done the same thing. The Independent Journal Review reported that Ditka called the actions “a problem.” Last year, he told radio station 105.3 in Dallas: “If they don’t like the country they don’t like our flag … get the hell out.”

Ditka said he had “no respect for Colin Kaepernick,” adding: “He probably has no respect for me. That’s his choice. 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.” The Chicago Bears icon also addressed the issue on the TMZ television show. He commented that while he supported the right to protest, the football players doing so were “malcontents” who were sure to be “forgotten.”

When the Independent Journal Review interviewed Kaepernick six months ago, he vowed to “continue to sit” and “continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed.” He explained:”To me, this is something that has to change, and when there’s significant change — and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, and this country is representing people the way it’s supposed to — I’ll stand.”

Kaepernick is still looking for a team this season, causing many people to suspect the league of blacklisting the quarterback because of his politics. The New York Daily News reported in an op-ed on Monday: “For all the fair reasons why (he) shouldn’t be a NFL starter … it’s becoming an increasingly more difficult sell to explain why he can’t even land a backup gig. It’s fair to wonder, of course, whether Kaepernick truly wants to be a No. 2 quarterback at this point.”

According to CBS Sports, 49ers safety Eric Reid knelt during the “Star Spangled Banner” before a preseason game last month, the second straight year he had done so. Teammates Marquise Goodwin, Tim Hightower, Dontae Johnson and Eli Harold remained standing but showed solidarity with Reid by placing their hands on his shoulder.

Earlier in August, Reid told Eric Branch of SFGate.com: “It’s important to discuss the issues that we have in our country. I think it’s becoming more and more apparent. Maybe people didn’t see what the black community saw when me and Colin were doing our protests, and other players were doing protests, last year. I think it’s more apparent now after this past weekend.” Reid was referring to the white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., where a reputed neo-Nazi allegedly slammed his car into a group of anti-racism counter-protesters. A woman was killed and dozens of people suffered injuries.

Source: Independent Journal Review
Photo: YouTube

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