NFL Hall of Famer Mike Ditka has never been considered “shy” when it comes to giving his opinion.
The former Chicago Bears football coach has a reputation for being as tough as the mascot for his old football team. He was a gritty, hard as nails leader who demanded the best from his players and never tolerated excuses for failure. He also wasn’t ever one to GIVE excuses for his own failures.
He hasn’t changed much since his days on the gridiron, and in a radio interview with Jim Gray before last night’s game, Ditka made it clear that he has no “chill.” He is not happy with the state of the game, the mindset of the protesting players, or the league’s reaction to what is going on.
Gray asked Ditka for his thoughts on the ongoing protests, and Ditka made no bones about what he’d seen:
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“I don’t see a lot of respect for the game. I just see respect for their own individual opinions. Opinions are like noses — we all have one. Some are good, some are bad. Respect the game, play the game. When you want to protest, protest when the game’s over. Protest whatever other way you want to. Football has been so good to those guys. Football has been so good to me.”
Gray then asked Ditka if he would have forced his players to stand for the anthem? Ditka didn’t mince words:
“Yes, I don’t care who you are, how much money you make. If you don’t respect our country, then you shouldn’t be in this country playing football. Go to another country and play football. If you had to go somewhere else to play the sport, you wouldn’t have a job. That would be my take. If you can’t respect the flag and the country then you don’t respect what this is all about. So I would say adios.”
Finally, Gray turned to the broader subject of the possibility of systemic racism and ongoing oppression in the black community. This is where Ditka angered the entire leftwing of the nation, and most of America’s black community. Ditka argued that while oppression of African-Americans was a problem in America’s past… it’s in the past. Our nation hasn’t oppressed any of our minorities in a very long time:
“I think that you have to be color blind in this country. You have to look at a person for what he is and what he stands for and how he produces. Not by the color of his skin. That has never had anything to do with anything. But all of a sudden, it’s become a big deal now — about oppression.
There’s been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of. Maybe I’m not watching as carefully as other people. I think the opportunity is there for everybody.
If you want to work, if you want to try, if you want to put effort in, I think you can accomplish anything. And we’ve watched that throughout our history of our country. People rise to the top and they became very influential people in our country by doing the right thing.
You got a ballot box, you got an election. That’s where you protest. You elect the person you want to be in office. If you don’t get that person in office, I think you respect the other one that’s all. Period.”
Here’s the audio of the interview:
So, what do you think? Is Ditka right? Is oppression of ethnic minorities in America, a thing of the past?
I’m pretty sure most of our readers will lean towards Ditka on this, and i’d tend to agree. We still have our problems, but today we mock and deride racists as foolish. Most Americans believe that we should judge each other by the content of our character, not the color of our skin.
So, where is the disconnect between the protesting athletes and the American people?