Former NFL coach Mike Ditka blasted professional athletes who kneel during the national anthem, telling them to “get the hell out of the country” if they “can’t respect” it.
Over the past couple of weeks, dozens of professional athletes have knelt during the national anthem as the teams launch their post-coronavirus seasons.
At an MLB game, the entire San Francisco Giants team knelt during a moment honoring the Black Lives Matter movement, except for one player, relief pitcher Sam Coonrod, who told reporters that his Christian faith would not allow him to “kneel before anything besides God.”
And during a WNBA game over the weekend, players from the Seattle Storm and New York Liberty teams walked off court as the national anthem began to play.
But the legendary Chicago Bears coach Ditka wasn’t shy about letting his stance be known when asked if he’d allow similar behavior to occur on the women’s football team, known as the X League, that he just acquired.
“If you can’t respect our national anthem, get the hell out of the country,” Ditka told TMZ Sports.
“That’s the way I feel,” he continued. “Of course, I’m old-fashioned, so, I’m only going to say what I feel.”
Ditka reminded professional athletes that their success would not have happened were it not for the opportunities this country gave them.
“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,” he said. “So, I don’t want to hear all the crap.”
Many fans feel the same way, because they’ve vowed to boycott the MLB and other professional leagues that have not just allowed, but endorsed activist-type behavior:
I see the San Fransisco Giants were kneeling to the national anthem.
Why would I give one dime to make spoiled, America-hating, crybaby, arrogant athletics rich?
I hope they all go bankrupt.
— Catturd ™ (@catturd2) July 21, 2020
Cowards are literally kneeling for a group (BLM) exposed as anti-American Marxist, they are traitors to America, MLB is traitors to America!
— MAGA HULK lll (MB3) 👊🏽🇺🇸🙏🏼 (@MAGAHULK2020) July 24, 2020
I’ve been a Yankee fan my whole life. They’re dead to me. https://t.co/1pGm3uBMmt
— Michael Knowles (@michaeljknowles) July 27, 2020