Former Chicago Bears head coach and NFL Hall of Famer Mike Ditka has made it clear over the years that he doesn't stand for anyone kneeling during the national anthem.
Earlier today, TMZ Sports released a recent interview featuring Ditka saying if a player "can’t respect our national anthem, get the hell out of the country." It is a stance he has taken multiple times in the past.
Some people might agree with Ditka, but others obviously don't. Former United State Marine Mansoor Shams is one of the people who doesn't, and he made that clear with his Twitter response to Ditka's comments this afternoon.
"Dear Mike Ditka: I’m a US Marine who served this Nation with his life. Yet I’ve NEVER felt it my place to tell anyone to “get the hell out of the country," Shams wrote. "Let that sink in.
"PS: Athletes kneel to raise awareness for racial injustice. And you’re exactly one of the reasons why."
Shams' message falls in line with what ex-NBA head coach Stan Van Gundy had to say on Twitter earlier today.
“Ditka (and many others) say ‘if you can’t respect our national anthem, get the hell out of the country.’ What should we do with those who don’t respect the Constitution which says we have the rights of free speech and freedom of assembly?” Van Gundy asked.
This cycle will likely repeat itself somewhere down the line. A player or players will kneel, someone will ask Mike Ditka what he thinks, he'll repeat his usual opinions and others will disagree.
We'd expect it to happen at least once during football season--assuming there is one--at some point, considering NFL players are likely to be protesting before games this fall.