A noted sports agent blasted Hall of Fame player and coach Mike Ditka after the NFL legend said he opposed players taking a knee during the National Anthem.
“If it was up to me, I’d say no,” Ditka, 80, a former tight end and Super Bowl-winning coach of the Chicago Bears, told TMZ Sports this week when asked what he thought about players likely taking a knee during the upcoming NFL season.
“If you can’t respect our national anthem, get the hell out of the country. That’s the way I feel. Of course, I’m old fashioned. So, I’m only going to say what I feel. I think there’s a way you protest and there’s a way you don’t protest,” Ditka said.
“You don’t protest against the flag, you don’t against this country [that] has given you the opportunity to make a living playing a sport that you never thought would happen,” he continued. “So, I don’t wanna hear all the crap,” he added.
But David Mulugheta, president of Athletes First, a sports agency that represents Aaron Rodgers, Derwin James, and Earl Thomas, objected to Ditka’s comments, calling them racist and suggesting he was a KKK supporter.
“This doesn’t surprise me at all. Mike Dikta traded his helmet in for a white hood as soon as he retired from football. Racism hiding behind faux patriotism is still racism,” he wrote on Twitter.
This doesn’t surprise me at all. Mike Dikta traded his helmet in for a white hood as soon as he retired from football. Racism hiding behind faux patriotism is still racism. 🤷🏾♂️ https://t.co/0wRTpyfMhB
— David Mulugheta (@DavidMulugheta) July 26, 2020
Ditka’s Bears went 15-1 during the regular season in 1985, earning him “Coach of the Year” honors. His team blew out the New England Patriots 46-10 in Super Bowl XX.
Mulugheta subsequently agreed that showing respect for the American flag was not racist.
“I totally agree…and the sun is hot. Neither have anything to do with people kneeling during the anthem,” he claimed.
Scores of social media users backed Ditka.
You are an idiot. Stop with the poor me everyone is racist I’m a victim lines. We are so over it. Ditka is correct. I’m a former naval officer you stand proud and tall for our country and anthem. Period.
— Peter Olsen (@PeteOlsen) July 27, 2020
Thanks coach Ditka for saying how you and many more Americans including myself feel about the National Anthem. If all these athletes were to serve and put their self in harms way then and only then would I listen to their stance. I am an American Soldier.
— Robert Johnson (@robertohnson) July 27, 2020
That’s what makes America great….He can think his way and you can think you’re way!
— Everything is Racist (@Re6Erik) July 27, 2020
God forbid someone have a different opinion, and then you immediately attribute motive and lump him in with KKK. That rhetoric is part of our problem.
— Christy Barker (@clbarker75) July 27, 2020
It’s remarkable, Mulugheta’s bigotry ignored. He uses an inflammatory hood reference to insinuate Ditka’s racist. Based on what? He disagrees with an elderly man’s words. He said nothing about skin color but he’s condemned a racist. Under Mulugheta’s complexity is a simple bigot
— Biden is a Sympathy Pimp (@DelawareSold) July 27, 2020
It wasn’t clear how Mulugheta came to the conclusion that Ditka’s alleged patriotism was being used as a cover to hide racist sentiments.
Still, Mulugheta’s slander aside, professional leagues across American sports have decided to exclusively support of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, despite its Marxist orientation, shunning any competing views, and that includes the NFL.
For instance, last month Super Bowl-winning New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was shamed into issuing not one, not two, but three separate apologies — one featuring his wife, as well — after telling an interviewer he is no fan of the kneeling, a position he has held for years.
“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country,” Brees said in an interview with Yahoo! Finance.
Highlight: @readdanwrite asks @drewbrees what the star NFL quarterback thinks about "players kneeling again when the NFL season starts."@drewbrees: “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.”
Full exchange: pic.twitter.com/MpCkFyOMed
— Yahoo Finance (@YahooFinance) June 3, 2020
Brees’ comments came amid rising protests from the George Floyd incident, which saw a resurgence of the BLM movement throughout the country. Despite his past charity work locally and his reputation as a stellar leader on his team and throughout the league, Brees was vilified and lambasted by fellow players.
“In an attempt to talk about respect, unity, and solidarity centered around the American flag and the national anthem, I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country,” Brees said in a statement.
“They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy. Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character,” he added.
Later, in a second apology, Brees said, “Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been.
“We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities. We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week,” he noted further.
Writing on Instagram, Brees’ wife, Brittany, noted, “WE ARE THE PROBLEM. I write this with tears in my eyes and I hope you all hear our hearts. Only until the last few days, until we experienced the death threats, we experienced the hate…Did I realize that these words were speaking directly to us.”
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