Hall of Fame coach Mike Ditka said he's embarrassed for the Rams players who participated in the "hands up, don't shoot" protest prior to Sunday's game against the Raiders in St. Louis, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Ditka, who also serves as a television analyst on ESPN, was asked whether the NFL or the Rams should have been penalized for the protest.
“It’s a shame this thing has come to this,” Ditka said. “The shame of it is, I’m not sure they care about Michael Brown or anything else. This was a reason to protest and to go out and loot. Is this the way to celebrate the memory of Michael Brown? Is this an excuse to be lawless? Somebody has to tell me that. I don’t understand it. I understand what the Rams’ take on this was. I’m embarrassed for the players more than anything. They want to take a political stand on this? Well, there are a lot of other things that have happened in our society that people have not stood up and disagreed about.
“I wasn’t in Ferguson. I don’t know exactly what happened. But I know one thing: If we dismantle and limit the power of our policemen any more than we have already, then we’re going to have a lot of problems in this country.
“What do you do if someone pulls a gun on you or is robbing a store and you stop them? I don’t want to hear about this hands-up crap. That’s not what happened. I don’t know exactly what did happen, but I know that’s not what happened. This policeman’s life is ruined. Why? Because we have to break somebody down. Because we have to even out the game. I don’t know. I don’t get it. Maybe I’m just old fashioned.”
The pre-game demonstration took place less than a week after a prosecutor's announcement that a grand jury had decided not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Violent protests followed the announcement.