February 24, 2018

Joe Namath Doesn't Understand Why NFL Owners Allow Players to Protest Anthem

10 October 2017, 10:42 | Winifred Adams

Mike Ditka attended a panel discussion on concussions in the NFL hosted by the City Club of Chicago last month. | Santiago Covarrubias Sun-Times

Mike Ditka attended a panel discussion on concussions in the NFL hosted by the City Club of Chicago last month. | Santiago Covarrubias  Sun-Times

"So I would say, adios", Ditka stated. "Or to the people that obviously when you look, and I say obviously, some of these dash cams and shootings that were done to unarmed people". Legendary former player and Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Ditka, a vociferous opponent of players protesting during the national anthem, basically told all Black NFL players to "go to another country and play football" if they don't respect the national anthem.

If you can't respect the flag and this country, then you don't respect what this is all about.

The former football great added that players apparently wanted to start a national dialogue about social justice issues, but they've instead created a national dialogue about the anthem, flag and patriotism. 'Excuse me. Go do that somewhere else. "If you want to work, if you want to try, if you want to put effort in, I think you can accomplish anything". "So I would say, adios". I think that you have to be color blind in this country.

Ditka argued that players weren't showing "respect for the game" when they kneeled, just "respect for their own individual opinions".

"I think that you have to be colorblind in this country".

In an appearance on Fox & Friends on Tuesday, the former Jets quarterback defended the National Football League players' protest of racial inequality and responded to Ditka.

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After all, he supported President Donald Trump in 2016, so his nostalgia for the 1940s isn't exactly surprising.

No oppression in the last 100 years?

The comments took a lot of fire on social media Tuesday, with one lifelong Bears fan writing: "I loved Mike Ditka as a coach and he was flawless for the Bears Super Bowl run".

I see opportunities if people want to look for opportunity.

"No, I'm not because I'm getting old, Jim, and I'm to the point right now, I'm fed up with a lot of it", Ditka said. "He's not a leader".

You can't get much more clueless and forgetful than this. And that does not even scratch the surface of the contemporary protests against gerrymandering, redlining, black codes and other types of discrimination - spoken and unspoken - that exist even today among minorities of different races, religions, and genders. That's where you protest. Football has been so good to these guys. "I'm sorry, a lot of people disagree with that, but that's my take on it".

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