“If it were up to me, I would say no,” Ditka replied when asked to kneel down. “If you can’t keep our national anthem, get the hell out of the country. That’s what I feel. Of course, I am old fashioned. So, I’m just going to say how I feel.
Ditka is the president of the X League, a women’s tackling football league which its website says is set to debut in April 2021.
The X League did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN.
Formerly known as the Lingerie Football League, it was renamed Legends Football League in 2013. In 2019, the Legends Football League announced its closure. The league was again renamed the Extreme Football League, or “X League”.
Ditka has spoken out against kneeling before, and he apologized in 2017 for his controversial comments on the issue after saying: “There has been no oppression in the last 100 years to my knowledge, ”according to CNN affiliate KWQC.
The subject is back in the spotlight with the resumption of professional sport as social unrest continues across the country following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
“I think there is a way to protest, and there is a way not to protest,” Ditka continued. “You don’t protest against the flag, and you don’t protest against this country that gave you the opportunity to earn a living, to play a sport, you never thought that would happen. So I don’t want to hear all the crap. You want to try it, try it. You don’t, it’s okay. ”
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling in 2016 to protest racial injustice and police brutality.