Mike Ditka is weighing in on the kneeling controversy. The legendary NFL coach explained that he believes kneeling during the National Anthem is disrespectful to the flag and the country.
While speaking with TMZ, Ditka, 80, didn’t mince words when speaking to athletes that choose not to stand. “If you can’t respect our national anthem, get the hell out of the country,” Ditka said. “That’s the way I feel. Of course, I’m old fashioned, so I’m only going to say what I feel.”
Ditka explains that he believes kneeling displays a lack of gratitude for the country and for the rare chance to make a living playing a sport. “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 says. “So, I don’t want to hear all the crap.”
The Hall of Fame coach isn’t the only public figure to voice their opposition to athletes kneeling. Earlier this week, President Trump addressed the ongoing issue.
He took to Twitter on Tuesday writing, “Looking forward to live sports, but any time I witness a player kneeling during the National Anthem, a sign of great disrespect for our Country and our Flag, the game is over for me!”
Furthermore, President Trump responded to the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s stance in support of those who choose to kneel. “And explain this to the NFL. I like the NFL, I like Roger Goodell, but I didn’t like what he said a week ago,” President Trump said at his Tulsa, Oklahoma rally. “I said ‘where did that come from in the middle of the summer? Nobody’s even asking.’ We will never kneel to our national anthem or our great American flag. We will stand proud, and we will stand tall.”