Many different sports, from the WNBA to the NFL and even NASCAR, are seeing some forms of National Anthem protests but NFL Hall of Famer Mike Ditka does not support people kneeling or otherwise protesting during the pre-game ceremony.
During an interview with TMZ Sports, Ditka weighed in on the protests and his upcoming role as chairman for the female tackle football X League.
According to the former Chicago player and coach, these protesting athletes and any other people who “cannot respect our national anthem” should “get the hell out of the country.”
The Daily Wire reports Ditka—a legend of the sport and one of only two people to win the Super Bowl as a player, assistant coach, and head coach—said he would do his part to end the protests.
The TMZ interviewer asked: “The whole kneeling thing in the NFL —you’ve got guys saying that they’re gonna do it. “I’m seeing all these baseball players now, different teams. Last night watching baseball you got the Reds kneeling, the A’s, the Giants, lots of teams are kneeling, athletes kneeling. In your league here —you’re the chairman of this thing — is that going to be allowed if the women want to take a knee during the anthem? What’s the policy on that for you guys?”
“If it was up to me I’d say no,” Ditka answered. “If you can’t respect our national anthem, get the hell out of the country. That’s the way I feel. Of course, I’m old fashioned, so I’m only going to say what I feel.”
“I think there’s a way you protest and a way you don’t protest. You don’t protest against the flag and you don’t protest against this country who’s given you the opportunity to make a living playing a sport that you never thought would happen,” he continued. “So, I don’t want to hear all the crap. You wanna try it, try it. You don’t, it’s okay.”
Ditka was also asked about the female tackle football X League in general and how it will compete alongside the NFL.
Women play every sport there is in the country except football, so why not football? And that’s what it is; it’s a league where these women have a lot of talent and are pretty good athletes. They like to play football. I mean, it’s strange, but it’s only strange in the sense that it hasn’t happened yet, But it’s gonna happen. I think when it does happen, I think people will really enjoy it.
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These are talented athletes; they’re more than just hitting each other. They’re talented athletes. It’ll be fun to watch. Being honest with you, I can’t tell you exactly how it’s going to go. But me as a fan, as a football fan, I would like to see them play. I don’t know how it’ll be; it might be great; it might not be. But I think it’ll be interesting.
Who thought that women boxing each other would be great? Or wrestling with each other? I think it’s a physical thing, but I think football appeals to so many people, and then seeing women playing the game and playing not only with skill, it’ll be fun to watch.