Mike Ditka is ‘Embarrassed’ By St. Louis Rams’ ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ Ferguson Gesture
By now you’re probably aware that five Saint Louis Rams players — Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin, Jared Cook, Chris Givens and Kenny Britt — walked out onto the field last Sunday with their hands above their heads in the familiar “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!” gesture that has become something of a form of shorthand to show solidarity with the Ferguson protesters. You’re probably also aware that several pundits, talking heads, and commentators have had different things to say about it. Now, former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka has offered his thoughts on the gesture, in an interview with the Chicago Sun Times.
“It’s a shame this thing has come to this. The shame of it is, I’m not sure they care about Michael Brown or anything else. This was a reason to protest and to go out and loot. Is this the way to celebrate the memory of Michael Brown? Is this an excuse to be lawless? Somebody has to tell me that. I don’t understand it. I understand what the Rams’ take on this was. I’m embarrassed for the players more than anything. They want to take a political stand on this? Well, there are a lot of other things that have happened in our society that people have not stood up and disagreed about.”
Such a response doesn’t seem particularly out of character for Ditka. On the field, and in his job as a football analyst for ESPN, Ditka has gained a reputation as something of a curmudgeon — “the crusty old coot of the football world,” as NBC Sports writer Michael David Smith called him. Off the field, he’s socially conservative and has even campaigned for Republican politicians.
Needless to say, when politics and sports collide, Mike Ditka can be counted on to take the conservative view. Consider, for example, his thoughts on the Redskins name controversy.
“What’s all the stink over the Redskin name? It’s so much horse s**t it’s incredible. We’re going to let the liberals of the world run this world.”
Still, his thoughts on the Ferguson gesture by the Rams players is rather tame compared to the response by some Saint Louis police officers who called on the NFL to punish the Rams players for the “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!” gesture, according to this Inquisitr report. The NFL has since declined to punish the players.
Do you agree with Mike Ditka’s thoughts on the Rams players’ Ferguson gesture?