Speaking to TMZ Sports, legendary NFL coach and tight end Mike Ditka, who will be the chairman of the female tackle football X League, pulled no punches when asked what his position was on kneeling during the national anthem. Ditka snapped, “If you can’t respect our national anthem, get the hell out of the country.”
“The whole kneeling thing in the NFL —you’ve got guys saying that they’re gonna do it,” the TMZ interviewer asked. “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?”
Ditka, who played for the NFL champion Chicago Bears in 1963, later won a Super Bowl as a player with the Dallas Cowboys, won the Super Bowl as coach of the Bears in 1985, and was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 1988, answered:
"If it was up to me I’d say no. 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. So, I don’t want to hear all the crap. You wanna try it, try it. You don’t, it’s okay."
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