Tags: mike ditka | oppression | nfl | protests

Mike Ditka Clarifies 'No Oppression in Last 100 Years' Comment

Mike Ditka Clarifies 'No Oppression in Last 100 Years' Comment
Former Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka walks the sidelines during the game between the Chicago Bears and the Atlanta Falcons at Soldier Field on Sept. 10, 2017, in Chicago, Illinois. (Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 11 October 2017 08:42 AM

Mike Ditka responded to the NFL protests Monday, saying, "there has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of." 

The former Chicago Bears head coach and ESPN analyst aired his views in a pregame interview prior to the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings game on Monday night, CBS Sports noted.

He has since clarified his comments in a statement, according to Sports Illustrated.

"The characterization of the statement that I made does not reflect the context of the question that I was answering and certainly does not reflect my views throughout my lifetime," Ditka said in a statement. "I have absolutely seen oppression in society in the last 100 years and I am completely intolerant of any discrimination. The interview was about the NFL and the related issues. That's where my head was at. I was quoted in the interview stating, 'You have to be colorblind.' I stated that you should look at a person for what they are and not the color of their skin. I'm sorry if anyone was offended."

The 77-year-old is not in favor of the protests started by Colin Kaepernick last season as a protest of the treatment of people of color in the United States.

Speaking to Jim Gray on Westwood One, Ditka pondered whether the NFL was the stage for such actions.

"If you want to protest, or whatever you want to protest, you’ve got a right to do that, but I think you’re a professional athlete, you have an obligation to the game," he said, according to The Washington Post.

"I don’t see a lot of respect for the game, I just see respect for their own individual opinions. … Respect the game, play the game, when you want to protest, protest when the game’s over, protest whatever other way you want to."

According to The Washington Post, Gray turned the interview to the topic of social justice, and those looking back to the lives of Muhammad Ali and Jesse Owens, but Ditka was quick to dismiss this.

"I don’t know what social injustices have been," he said, adding that "all of a sudden, it’s become a big deal now, about oppression. There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of."

Ditka has since come under fire for his remarks.

Panthers and Ravens legend Steve Smith expressed his distaste on Twitter, calling Ditka "a great coach but clueless person."

Former linebacker Otis Wilson, who played for Ditka in Chicago from 1982 to '87, spoke out against Ditka in an interview on "The Sporting Life" with Jeremy Schaap.

"Well, I guess if he walked in a black man's shoes, he would understand," the African-American footballer said, per ESPN. "...Colin (Kaepernick) has a platform, so he used his platform. That's his rights. Everybody has rights so don't knock somebody for when they use it and how they use it because if it was against the laws or against the rules they would have sat him down and told him about that."

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Mike Ditka, who responded to the NFL protests Monday, saying, "there has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of," has explained the comment.
mike ditka, oppression, nfl, protests
Wednesday, 11 October 2017 08:42 AM
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