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Mike Ditka addresses protesting players again: 'If you can't respect this country, get the hell out'

At the start of the 2020 NFL season, Ditka reiterated his opinions against players protesting.
Credit: AP
Former Chicago Bears tight end and Pro Football Hall of fame head coach Mike Ditka waits for an unveiling ceremony outside Soldier Field of statues honoring George Halas and Walter Payton Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

The former Chicago Bears coach and NFL Hall of Famer Mike Ditka for a third time encouraged anyone disrespecting the country to "get the hell out of it." 

When then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem in 2016 to protest racial inequality, Ditka made the same comment, according to Fox News. He also said it in July just after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police.

Now, at the start of the 2020 NFL season, Ditka reiterated his opinions against players protesting during a phone interview with Newsmax on Monday.

"Football's football. It's not a complicated thing," he said when asked how he feels about the commentators before the game talking about racial injustice and police brutality. "You're playing the game, you're enjoying the game. You don't like the game, get out of it. It's not for protesting one way or the other."

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He continued: "What color you are, what you think, this or that. You play football. That's it. You're privileged. You got a gift from God that you can play the game because you got a body you can do it with. I don't really understand what you're protesting. I played the game. I coached the game for a long time. It makes no sense to me."

To finish the interview, Ditka was asked if would ever see a day like this with his history with the sport.

He said: "I would tell those players go to another country and play football there. You don't have to come out. You don't have to come out if you go to another country. You can't! Because the game's only played in this country. And if you can't respect this country, get the hell out of it."

Credit: Courtesy Denver Business Journal