Mike Ditka to kneeling athletes: Get out of the country

Mike Ditka had strong words for people who protest the national anthem.
Mike Ditka had strong words for people who protest the national anthem.(CNN, WGN)
Published: Jul. 27, 2020 at 3:06 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2020 at 3:14 PM CDT
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(CNN) - Super Bowl-winning head coach Mike Ditka didn’t hold back his thoughts when asked about athletes kneeling during the national anthem.

The Pro Football Hall-of-Famer said kneeling athletes should “get the hell out of the country” in an interview with TMZ. He also said, “You don’t protest against the flag or against this country.”

Ditka, who played 12 NFL seasons, shared similar thoughts on kneeling in the aftermath of Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protests, saying in 2017 that “there had been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of.” Ditka would apologize for those comments.

Kneeling has become much more common in professional sports following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

Ditka is currently the chairman of the X League, which is a women’s tackle football organization. He has also worked as a television analyst since his time as a head coach.

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