Chicago Bears hero and NFL legend Mike Ditka didn’t hold back when asked to weigh-in on professional athletes’ protest of the national anthem, saying if you “don’t respect our country” you should go play football someplace else.
Ditka blasted the protesting players during an interview on sports radio Monday, slamming the athletes for “taking a knee” during the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ and urging the players to “protest when game’s over.”
“I don’t see a lot of respect for the game. I just see respect for their own individual opinions,” said Ditka. “Respect the game, play the game. When you want to protest, protest when the game’s over. Protest whatever other way you want to. Football has been so good to those guys. Football has been so good to me.”
Ditka was then asked if he would require his players to remain standing during the performance of the national anthem if he were an owner or coach.
“Yes, I don’t care who you are, how much money you make. If you don’t respect our country, then you shouldn’t be in this country playing football,” he said. “Go to another country and play football. If you had to go somewhere else to play the sport, you wouldn’t have a job. That would be my take. If you can’t respect the flag and the country then you don’t respect what this is all about. I would say adios.”