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Mike Ditka: 'No oppression in last 100 years'

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Mike Ditka as a Chicago Bears player

The Pro Football Hall of Famer spoke to Jim Gray before Monday Night Football and was asked about players protesting during the national anthem, a topic that has dominated headlines throughout the early NFL season. You elect the person you want to be in office.

Ditka was not asked about Hill or her two-week suspension, but he said players who protest should do so on their own time and away from the gridiron.

This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard an athlete or coach say-which includes Mike Cameron's assertion that the sun has only been around for "500 or 600 years". I think the opportunity is there for everybody.

"I think that you have to be colorblind in this country".

Namath's reference to oppression is a response to Mike Ditka's assessment that there hasn't been oppression in this country "in the last 100 years". "Or to the people that obviously when you look, and I say obviously, some of these dash cams and shootings that were done to unarmed people". "... Respect the game, play the game, when you want to protest, protest when the game's over, protest whatever other way you want to".

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Ditka argued that players weren't showing "respect for the game" when they kneeled, just "respect for their own individual opinions".

Coach Ditka believes as Martin Luther King, Jr. did, and as a majority of Americans now believe, that people should not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. "It's been so good to me". You have a ballot box, you have an election. "Go to another country and play football". All of a sudden it's become a big dealing now about oppression. Ditka's sausage-infested brain is so feeble that he probably thinks that Jim Crow is someone who makes barbecue sauce. People rise to the top and they became very influential people in our country by doing the right thing. That's where you protest.

Smith went a step further, calling Ditka a "dumb a$$" for claiming "this never happened". The NFL legend touched on the subjects of race, oppression, and showing respect and pride for the flag and country.

Ditka added that if he were still a coach he would demand that his players stand for the anthem. I mean, you can say, 'Are you (saying) everything is based on color?' I don't see it that way. "If you don't work, that's a different problem".

Watch the full interview below.

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