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Mike Ditka To Colin Kaepernick: 'Get The Hell Out' Of Our Country

By Sarah Gouda in News on Sep 23, 2016 6:37PM

Getty Images / Mike Ditka / Photo: Tim Boyle

In a shocking and unprecedented turn of events, an aging white man has taken it upon himself to tell black people when and how they're allowed to protest. Mike Ditka, avid supporter of Donald Trump and all-around curmudgeon, told Dallas radio show 105.3 The Fan this morning that he has no respect for Colin Kaepernick and the quarterback should "get the hell out" of America if he doesn't like it here. Lovely.

Colin Kaepernick, of the San Francisco 49ers, sparked a national debate at the onset of the football season after choosing to kneel for the National Anthem prior to each game. His peaceful protest is intended to draw attention to oppression and injustices endured by those in black and minority communities; but his method has been flagged as disrespectful by some. Ditka, former coach of the Chicago Bears, seems particularly aggravated.

“I have no respect for Colin Kaepernick. He probably has no respect for me, that’s his choice” said Ditka. “My choice is, I like this country, I respect our flag, and I don’t see all the atrocities going on in this country that people say are going on.”

This goes right in line with the always rock-solid logic that if you yourself don't see something then it's definitely not happening. Perhaps this mode of thinking is not all that surprising coming from a man who blames Barack Obama's presidency on his personal decision not to run for Senate in 2004.

Not all of the responses from NFL personalities have been quite as meatheaded as Ditka's, with Niners Head Coach Chip Kelly coming out in support of his QB. SFist reported that other players around the country, including those from the Seattle Seahawks, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins, have joined Kaepernick in solidarity. The din of debate around whether sitting out the anthem is unpatriotic or not has reached such a fever pitch that Kaepernick is set to appear on the cover of the October 3rd issue of Time Magazine.

This cover is just one signifier of the country's ongoing discussion around the persistent and troubling use of excessive force by police against unarmed black men. Just this week, protests have been reignited after the fatal shootings of Keith Lamont Scott and Terrence Crutcher at the hands of law enforcement in Charlotte and Tulsa, respectively.

These sort of incidents are precisely what Kaepernick is using his national platform to protest, telling The Guardian, "“There’s a lot of racism in this country disguised as patriotism and people want to take everything back to the flag but that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about racial discrimination, inequalities and injustices that happen across the nation.”

In light of the ongoing trauma inflicted on black communities by the state, Ditka's comments ring as staggering in their insensitivity. To claim you don't "see" the atrocities is simply to confirm your inability to remain informed about highly publicized current events. Needless to say, this admission has inspired some colorful commentary from the Twitter-verse:

And, the most critical and poignant of all: