Mike Ditka says players should ‘get the hell out of the country’ if they protest during anthem

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CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 22: Mike Ditka attends The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation’s “A Magical Evening Chicago” at Peninsula Hotel on October 22, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images for The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation)

CHICAGO (WGN) — Mike Ditka, the NFL Hall of Famer and one of football’s most well-known coaches, says professional athletes who protest police brutality and racial injustice during the national anthem should “get the hell out of the country.”

The former Chicago Bears coach made the comments to TMZ Sports when asked if he, as the new chairman and owner of the women’s football X League, would allow players to take a knee.

“”If you can’t respect our national anthem, get the hell out of the country,” said Ditka. “That’s the way I feel. Of course, I’m old-fashioned. I’m only going to say what I feel. I think there’s a way you protest and I think there’s a way you don’t protest. You don’t protest against the flag, and you don’t protest against this country, whose given you the opportunity to make a living playing a sport that you never thought would happen. I don’t want to hear all the crap. You want to try it, try it. You don’t, it’s okay.”

Other than voicing his dissent, Ditka has not clearly stated if any disciplinary action would be taken if players protest the anthem.

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