Mike Ditka is under heavy scrutiny on Sunday.
The Pro Football Hall of Famer discussed his thoughts on players kneeling during the national anthem with TMZ Sports (starts at 1:55) and pretty much reiterated his stance, calling it a protest of the flag and the country, and would prefer it not happen in his new X League, a women’s tackle football league.
“If you can’t respect our national anthem, get the hell out of the country,” he said. “That’s the way I feel. Of course, I’m old fashioned, so I’m only going to say what I feel.”
Former NBA head coach Stan Van Gundy has offered a rebuttal to Mike Ditka’s latest comments when he took to Twitter:
“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.
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? https://t.co/VpAlJgR10o
— Stan Van Gundy (@realStanVG) July 26, 2020
This form of protest began in 2016 with Colin Kaepernick and has gained steam following the death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
“You don’t protest against the flag, and you don’t protest against this country who’s given you the opportunities to make a living playing a sport that you never thought would happen,” Ditka added. “So, I don’t want to hear all the crap.”
The 80-year-old has been against the protests from the start, saying in 2017, “There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of.”