Former Chicago Bears legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Ditka says that the United States has been oppression free for the last 100 years.
“All of a sudden, it’s become a big deal now, about oppression,” Ditka said on Westwood One on Monday. “There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of. Now maybe I’m not watching it as carefully as other people.”
The Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965 and the Fair Housing Act was signed in 1968, just to name a few pieces of 20th century legislation aimed at fighting discrimination.
Ditka also commented on players who kneel during the anthem, calling it “disrespectful” and adding he would bench any player who did so if he were still coaching.
Ditka says football players that don’t respect the country should “go to another country and play football.”
“If you had to go somewhere else to try to play the sport, you wouldn’t have a job,” he added.
The interview was conducted by Jim Gray and when Gray cited black athletes like Muhammad Ali and Jesse Owens, who were known to take on social issues, Ditka again says he didn’t know what social injustices there have been.
“Muhammad Ali rose to the top. Jesse Owens is one of the classiest individuals that ever lived. I mean, you can say, ‘Are you (saying) everything is based on color?’ I don’t see it that way,” Ditka said. “I think that you have to be color blind in this country. You’ve got to look at a person for what he is and what he stands for and how he produces, not by the color of his skin. That has never had anything to do with anything.”