Mike Ditka says he has “no respect” for San Fransisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem, adding that he and others like him should “get the hell out” if they don’t like America.
In an interview on KRLD-FM in Dallas, the hall of fame coach blasted Kaepernick for the move that has inspired dozens of other NFL players to follow suit and led to a cover story in Time magazine, reports the Chicago Tribune.
“I think it’s a problem, anybody who disrespects this country and the flag. If they don’t like the country, if they don’t like our flag, get the hell out. That’s what I think. I have no respect for Colin Kaepernick. He probably has no respect for me, that’s his choice. My choice is that 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.”
— ESPN (@espn) September 23, 2016
Ditka added that he doesn’t see problems in America that would warrant protests.
“I don’t see all the atrocities going on in this country that people say are going on. I see opportunities if people want to look for opportunity. Now if they don’t want to look for them, then you can find problems with anything, but this is the land of opportunity because you can be anything you want to be if you work. Now if you don’t work, that’s a different problem.”
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the controversy began during preseason play when Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem in protest for the senseless violence by police against those in the African-American communities. The quarterback has been very adamant about his distaste for the way people of color have been treated in America, even in the face of adversity.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
— Sporting News NFL (@sn_nfl) September 23, 2016
Ditka, 76, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988 and is one of two people in NFL history to win a league title as a player, an assistant coach, and a head coach. Leading the Chicago Bears for 11 years, Ditka was the only coach in the team’s history to secure a Super Bowl win, in 1985. He retired in 1999 after a failed comeback with the New Orleans Saints, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame website.
Never one to shy away from saying what he thinks, Ditka famously blasted the Rams’ “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture in 2014.
“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.”
— BlackSportsOnline (@BSO) September 23, 2016
In March, Ditka, a well-known conservative, called Obama “the worst president we’ve ever had.”
“Barack Obama’s a fine man. I mean, he’s pleasant. He would be great to play golf with. He’s not a leader. This country needs leadership. It needs direction. It needs somebody that steps up front. We need somebody like Ronald Reagan. Every once in a while you’re gonna get punched in the chops but you keep going forward. That’s all there is to it.”
[Featured Image by Jordan Strauss/Invision for NFL/AP Images]