NFL legend Mike Ditka against kneeling during national anthem: 'Get the hell out of the country'

James Rapien

CINCINNATI — NFL legend Mike Ditka made it clear that he disagrees with any athlete that kneels for the national anthem. 

The Hall of Famer is the chairman of the Extreme Football League — a women's tackle football organization. 

Ditka, 80, said he would oppose any athletes in the X League that decided to kneel during the national anthem.  

“If you can’t respect our national anthem, get the hell out of the country,” Ditka said in a video interview with TMZ Sports. “That’s the way I feel. Of course, I’m old-fashioned. I’m only going to say what I feel.”

He made it clear that these are his personal beliefs and that he doesn't have the power to change the league policy. 

"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 said. "So, I don't want to hear all the crap."

The X League was originally founded as the Lingerie Football League, before it became the Legends Football League in 2009. They have teams in Los Angeles, Austin, Denver, Seattle, Chicago, Atlanta, Kansas City and Omaha.

Ditka was a six-time All-Pro tight end. As a head coach, he helped the Bears become arguably the greatest defense in all-time en route to a Super Bowl VI victory.

In 1988, he became the first tight end induced into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

Ditka also infamously offered the Bengals his entire draft class in 1999 and multiple picks the following year in an attempt to trade up for running back Ricky Williams. The Bengals didn't take the deal and selected quarterback Akili Smith with the No. 3 pick, who ended up being one of the biggest draft busts in team history. 

Ditka ultimately landed Williams in a trade that send eight draft selections, including two first-round picks to Washington for the No. 5 pick in the 1999 NFL Draft. 

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Comments (51)
No. 1-18
Arbbq
Arbbq

I don’t recall Ditka doing anything patriotic at home or abroad. Military service? Nope. Giving significant time in support of the helping the struggling portion of our society? I’m not seeing it. Iron Mike is just another loud mouth tin soldier Patriot. I define “toughness” a little differently.

supersmart
supersmart

After we continue to kneel in protest during the National Anthem and refuse to leave our country, what is a red neck SOB like Mike Ditka going to do besides being an ongoing ignorant old fool? "Black Lives Matter"

assholio
assholio

At least you got the minutes in a week correct...you have no concept of inner city poverty and its implications.

NovemberBuck
NovemberBuck

Mike well said,glad you stayed old fashioned I’m half your age but agree with you 110%

hdfloyd
hdfloyd

I am a retired Amry Vet, faught in the gulf war, wore and earned my strips proudly and with my life at the will of this country and flags orders, it was my choice then just like knelling is my choice now. The anthem is song a chant celebrating freedom in our great country, it literally was not even pinned for military vets though so many have died for that freedom. But freedom in america is far deeper than the military vets, than the opportunities and wealth its about EVERYONE that lives here and can claim to be a US citizen and until that becomes and EVENLY shared right than why celebrate the song that expresses a sentiment that you don't share or feel. Your literally lying to yourself and putting on a front for others. Be true to ones self, if you stand and sing it with your head high its because you share 100% of the intent. If you don't stop lying and show how you really fell about the areas the chant does not cover for you.

iamsilverandblack
iamsilverandblack

Mike,
I think you’re doing this for the publicity. I always admired you, but it’s sad that you’ve turned into a schill just to drum up some press for your league. You don’t know what you’re talking about, and kneeling in protest has nothing to do with the flag. For over 20 years in the Military I quite literally wore the flag. I defended it, and up held everyday I was on active duty and still do to this day. It isn’t about the flag Mike, it’s about pushing back against a bully. It’s about saying enough, loud and clear, and in a manner that makes everyone take notice. Push a person or a group of people far enough and they eventually push back. I don’t buy the “I’m old and set in my ways” routine. You know the difference between right and wrong. I’m not going to change your mind or your PR campaign; but when you get a chance, look up the name Tamir Rice. Taking a knee in protest is about him and people like him living and dead who want fair treatment. Good luck. I won’t be watching, but I will hold out hope that you can one day see it from my point of view.

Thbull
Thbull

There are over ... 10,080 minutes in a week.... Players can "Stand, with their heads High" ONE Minute of the week! The other ...10,079 Minutes they can kneel, protest...and take "responsibility", and help the 75% of children that ..Have-No-Father figure! Take responsibility for HIGHER crime rate in Black community, which leads to the "disaster" that Black America, has done to ITSELF! Anyone can Kneel, that says, and contributes NOTHING!

Chave58
Chave58

Coach will soon be going exactly where he is sending native Americans to go just because the flag does not means the same to them. There is no place in heaven for someone that has no empathy for others that are oppressed in their own homeland.

Chave58
Chave58

Mike Ditka is entitle to his stupid opinions. He should be empathetic of other Americans even when their problems are not his. Why should a native Black American leave his country? I live half a mile from a Indian reservation come down and see how they live in their native land, ask them to kiss the flag. Shame on you Mike!

mike the hipppe
mike the hipppe

No matter how many times it is said that it is not a protest against the fuking flag or country you all will continue to say it is just to perpetuate your hate.... Guess what Ill kneel and I want to see you MAKE me leave. Dont be tough behind the computer make any one of us leave and see what happens. Please make me leave. And F you to Mike Dicka.

poonie80
poonie80

Thank you Mike, and just thank you...............

poonie80
poonie80

Don't cave in like Drew Brees had to do. Had to do! Whites must or they are racist! blacks can say whatever they wish and do whatever they wish and no consequences. Proud of you Mike and thank you, my husband was killed in Vietnam, two fathers killed in WW11 and they honored and loved the flag with all their souls, not like today, and never will be again.

Soldier's Comment
Soldier's Comment

Mike,
Watched you play and marveled at your toughness on the field. I suspect, however, with all you awards, accolades, and false bravado, you never took the time to read and understand the meaning of the First Amendment of our Constitution. I don't want to dismiss your beliefs, but do you know what our military fights to defend ... the Constitution and every single word that's written in the document. I suspect when you were playing that wonderful game of football, soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines were fighting and sacrificing around the world so you could catch the pigskin. There were no complaints, because many of us chose the profession of arms. When we made our choice we didn’t elect to only defend that portion of the Constitution we supported. We swore to: “Support and defend the Constitution.” Mr. Ditka, you may be old fashioned, but so am I. I suspect you have never walked the jungles of Vietnam, served in Europe during the Cold War, patrolling the European borders to support our allies. That's what many old fashioned military veterans did with honor .. not play Hall of Fame Football, then proclaim what freedoms Americans should or should not exercise. Mr. Ditka, I believe you are sincere in your misguided beliefs, but you are sincerely WRONG ... I am an Infantryman from Vietnam, airborne soldier, combat platoon leader, company commander, battalion commander, and airborne brigade commander, and a college teammate of one of your Hall of Fame colleagues. I'm not a tough guy, just a loyal American who would be honored to kneel next to any American who would choose to keel. It's not about OUR flag, it's about our constitutional right to do so! “Airborne”

JohnGalt
JohnGalt

When America truly becomes "the land of the FREE" and there is "liberty and justice FOR ALL" in the USA, I'll stand during the anthem. Kaepernick consulted with Veterans to get their advice on what would NOT be disrespectful to them, but still make a point. They said "take a knee". Mike should remember that it had only been 15 years since blacks were allowed to play pro football when he played his first game in 1961 for the Bears. Shame on you, Mike.

DesertGypsy
DesertGypsy

Michael Dyczko (Ditka) should go back to HIS father's country. My ancestors came here pre-revolutionary war and we don't need a 2nd generation Pollack telling us what is and what isn't American.

3 Replies

poonie80
poonie80

Oh please, isn't that a racist comment?

poonie80
poonie80

By the way, he is not 2nd generation, long over that. My ancestors were here as well, so? And what is an American in your view?

armedanddangerous
armedanddangerous

Sounds simple enough to me Gypsy. If you don't like this country nobody's forcing you to stay.

Chellebellem
Chellebellem

If Ditka hasn’t been outspoken against racism he shouldn’t get to chime in against protest of said racism. It literally stands for nothing if the Pledge and song of allegiance aren’t backed by corresponding actions (by citizens and government officials). You can’t in all honesty say your a true American if you agree with stifling fellow citizens’ rights and complaints of rights violations. It is the obligation of ALL Americans to seek justice for these ones.

rosek
rosek

Finally, someone said it! Thank you Mike Kitka!


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