WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Former NFL Bears head coach Mike Ditka said in an interview that football players should save their protests after the game and not during the national anthem.
- During the interview with Jim Gray of Westwood One prior to a Monday Night Football contest, the 77-year-old Ditka commented that “there has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of.”
- The former tight end has the same view as President Donald Trump whom he supported during the last presidential election.
Former Bears coach Mike Ditka told the NFL players to “respect the game” and protest all they want after playing.
“Is this the stage for this?” the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee said. “If you want to protest, or whatever you want to protest, you’ve got a right to do that. But I think you’re a professional athlete. You have an obligation to the game.”
He continued, “I don’t see a lot of respect for the game, I just see respect for their own individual opinions. … Respect the game, play the game; when you want to protest, protest when the game’s over, protest whatever other way you want to.”
In September, Pres.Trump urged NFL owners to fire players who don’t stand for the national anthem.
Earlier this month, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones warned the players on his team whoever “disrespect” the national anthem will not be allowed to play in the game. Ditka said, if he were still coaching, he would implement the same policy.
“Yes. I don’t care who you are, or how much money you make, if you don’t respect our country, you shouldn’t be in this country playing football. Go to another country and play football. If you had to go somewhere else and try to play this sport, you wouldn’t have a job.
“If you can’t respect the flag and this country, then you don’t respect what this is all about, so I would say: Adios,” he said.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the anthem in August 2016.
Kaepernick explained, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Since his contract ended with the 49ers in March, Kaepernick hasn’t found a new team yet.
Other NFL athletes have followed his “kneeling movement” as a sign of protest against social injustice.