Legendary NFL Coach Mike Ditka said on Monday in a bigoted, privileged rant that, “there has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of. Now maybe I’m not watching it as closely as other people.” Ditka, who adamantly opposes the NFL players who kneel during the national anthem, also said “all of a sudden, it’s become a big deal now, about oppression,” on the Monday Night Football pregame show.
Yes Mike. All of a sudden.
Mike apparently forgot about Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Ditka said yesterday in clarification, that he was “sorry if anyone was offended” and “the interview was about the NFL…that’s where my head was at.” However, Ditka’s quotes are not benign of ignorance.
“If you can’t respect the flag and the country, then you don’t respect what this is all about. So, I would say, adios,” he said.
Ok Señor Ditka.
When interviewer Jim Gray mentioned athletes such as Jessie Owens and Muhammad Ali who protested against social injustices during their careers, Ditka said “I don’t know what social injustices have been.”
His rants, Trumpish in their poor sentence structure and vagueness, match the rhetoric that is characteristic of the bigoted side of the NFL; without logic, demanding an end to the unpatriotic interruption of “my” football. As Ditka, and the rest of the people on his side say, “is this the stage for this?”
Ditka, the Pro Football Hall of Fame member, has been known throughout his entire career as a “hard ass.” There was the Mike Ditka who was accused of sending players into games with concussions. There was the Mike Ditka who was known to berate his players for not crossing a picket line during an NFL player’s strike in 1987.
Former Bears safety Dave Duerson described Ditka in the following way, “Mike was not one who gave a damn about the players or their injuries when he was coaching.” Duerson later committed suicide. In his death, he was diagnosed with the brain disease, CTE.
Despite the backlash that the NFL players who kneel during the national anthem have received, they continue to protest and gain support from within the NFL and throughout professional sports. Ditka’s apology will, of course, suffice, and there will be no recourse from ESPN or anyone else who pays him.
He is just another in a long line of old, angry, bigoted white men.