Former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka said he has “no respect” for 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick after his on-field protests against the national anthem.
The NFL Hall of Famer was asked to weigh in on the controversy surrounding Mr. Kaepernick’s protests, which have earned him a cover on the upcoming issue of Time magazine.
“I have no respect for Colin Kaepernick — he probably has no respect for me, that’s his choice,” Mr. Ditka told The Fan’s “Shan & RJ” show. “My choice is that I like this country, I respect our flag, and I don’t see all the atrocities going on in this country that people say are going on.”
Black pro football players across the country have joined Mr. Kaepernick in protesting against racial injustice in the U.S. by taking a knee or raising a power fist during the national anthem. Time magazine announced Thursday that Mr. Kaepernick will be pictured kneeling on its newest cover, titled, “The perilous fight: National anthem protests led by Colin Kaepernick are fueling a debate.”
“I think it’s a problem — anybody who disrespects this country and the flag,” Mr. Ditka said. “If they don’t like the country, they don’t like our flag, get the hell out.
“I see opportunities if people want to look for opportunity,” he added. “Now, if they don’t want to look for them, then you can find problems with anything. But this is the land of opportunity because you can be anything you want to be if you work. Now, if you don’t work, that’s a different problem.”