NFL Hall of Famer Mike Ditka has a blunt message for the players who are kneeling for the national anthem.
The former Chicago Bears head coach, who played in the NFL from 1961-72, is firmly against kneeling for the national anthem.
Ditka, 80, is reportedly set to become the chairman of the X League, a tackle women’s football league, and he does not want any of his players kneeling.
“If you can’t respect our national anthem, get the hell out of the country,” Ditka told TMZ Sports. “That’s the way I feel. Of course, I’m old fashioned, so I’m only going to say what I feel.”
Mike Ditka Against Anthem Kneeling In New Football League, Leave the Country! https://t.co/3KnlMzJAIG
— TMZ (@TMZ) July 26, 2020
This is not the first time Ditka, a six-time All-Pro as a player, has said something like this.
“I have no respect for Colin Kaepernick – he probably has no respect for me, that’s his choice” Ditka said of Colin Kaepernick in 2016. “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.”
Ditka added to that comment on The Fan’s Shan & RJ show in Dallas:
“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. If you don’t work…that’s a different problem.”
While most prominent sports figures seem to be OK with kneeling, Ditka is very clearly on the other side of the issue. And at this point, he’s obviously not budging.