“I don’t see all the social injustice that some of these people see."
Former Chicago Bears tight end, and head coach, Mike Ditka, says NFL players should save their protests for after the game rather than during the national anthem because they have "an obligation to the game."
Ditka sat down for an interview with Jim Gray of Westwood One prior to last night's Monday Night game between the Bears and Minnesota Vikings, and said players should respect the game by protesting when the game is over.
In fact, he says "There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of. Now maybe I’m not watching it as carefully as other people.”
Ditka told Jim Gray (via Des Bieler of the Washington Post),
"Is this the stage for this?" he said. "If you want to protest, or whatever you want to protest, you've got a right to do that. But I think you're a professional athlete. You have an obligation to the game.
"I don't see a lot of respect for the game, I just see respect for their own individual opinions. … Respect the game, play the game, when you want to protest, protest when the game's over, protest whatever other way you want to."
“I don’t see all the social injustice that some of these people see,” Ditka said late in the interview.
The NFL Hall of Famer also agreed with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who recently told reporters that players who disrespect the flag should be benched. During an interview last year on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Ditka said, “Anybody who disrespects this country and the flag, if they don’t like the country, they don’t like our flag, get the hell out."
His comments prior to last night's game were pretty much the same.
"Yes. I don't care who you are, or how much money you make, if you don't respect our country, you shouldn't be in this country playing football," he said. "Go to another country and play football. If you had to go to somewhere else and try to play this sport, you wouldn't have a job.
"If you can't respect the flag and this country, then you don't respect what this is all about, so I would say: Adios."