How quickly things can change — not long ago, in the media and among non-Nike athletic corps, kneeling during the National Anthem was a topic of controversy.
Now it seems most everyone’s on board, including the NFL.
Nonetheless, National Football League legend Mike Ditka is sticking to the old days, and he doesn’t care who knows it.
Mike’s not one of the cool kids — across American athletics, people are refusing to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner.” As I covered Tuesday, a recent WNBA match saw both teams abandon the situation altogether and retreat to their locker rooms while the song played.
And on Monday, a host of San Francisco Giants took a knee, including two coaches and a team manager:
As for Ditka, he’s not mincing words. Speaking to TMZ, the former Chicago Bears coach — and current owner/chairman of X League, a women’s pro football association — lowered the boom on bending.
“The whole kneeling thing in the NFL — you’ve guys saying that they’re gonna do it. I’m seeing all these baseball players now, different teams — last night watching baseball, you’ve got the Reds kneeling, the A’s, the Giants. A lot of teams are kneeling. Athletes are kneeling. In your league here — you’re the chairman of this thing — is that gonna be allowed? If the women wanna take a knee during the Anthem? What’s the policy on that for you guys?”
Mike admitted he’s not a modern kinda guy. But he’s got some definite ideas about patriotism:
“Of course, I’m old fashioned. So I’m only gonna say what I feel. I think there’s a way that you protest and there’s a way you don’t protest. You don’t protest against the flag, and you don’t protest against this country [that’s] given you the opportunity to make a living playing a sport that you never thought would happen. So I don’t wanna hear all the crap.”
There’s certainly a lot of protest to be heard. Gone, it seems, are the days of pure unadulterated competition and entertainment.
Back in 2017, Mr. Ditka lamented the same, as quoted by RedState’s Brandon Morse:
“Respect the game. Play the game. When you want to protest, protest when the game is over. Football has been so good to these guys. Enjoy it. Have fun with it. … I don’t think it’s the stage for protests, I’m sorry.”