Former Chicago Bears football coach and NFL hall-of-famer Mike Ditka had harsh words for NFL players protesting the national anthem over the weekend — and a warning for any players who plan to protest during Monday night's game.
"People are gonna do what they want to do — this is a different generation. In other words, they think a lot of things don't apply to them," Ditka told TMZ on Monday. "Don't forget now that that's a minority, so for the majority of people who are going to understand what 9/11 meant, what this country stands for, the values that we have, and they're gonna go in that direction.
"You can’t stop everybody. There’s always going to be some malcontents,” he said. “So let them be malcontents, let them do their thing. They’ll move on. Nobody will think about it, nobody will remember who they were."
A number of NFL players protested the national anthem over the weekend in the first week of the NFL season, some kneeling and some even raising a fist historically known as the "black power" symbol.
Ditka may be right if former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is any indication. Kaepernick, who knelt during the national anthem last year to protest oppression of people of color and police brutality, was not picked up by any NFL team after opting out of his contract with the 49ers. He remains a free agent.