Mike Ditka has thoughts, and he often has no filter when he shares those thoughts out loud. So when he appeared on the "Shan & RJ" radio show and was asked about Colin Kaepernick, he channeled his inner Donald Trump and told the 49ers quarterback to get out of the country.
"I think it’s a problem," Ditka said about the protest. "Anybody who disrespects this country and the flag. If they don’t like the country they don’t like our flag, get the hell out."
Telling someone to leave doesn't really develop the dialogue Kaepernick and other are aiming for, and really doesn't help anything. But according to Ditka, there doesn't need to be a dialogue, because he doesn't believe there's anything going on to protest about.
“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," Ditka said. "I see opportunities if people want to look for opportunity – now if they don’t want to look for them – then you can find problems with anything, but this is the land of opportunity because you can be anything you want to be if you work. If you don’t work, that’s a different problem."
Ditka must live in his own bubble of personal happiness to not "see all the atrocities going on" because just last week Terrence Crutcher, an unarmed black man, was gunned down by police in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Kaepernick cited deaths like Crutcher's are at the root of what he's trying to change, adding, "I find it very hard that people don’t understand what’s going on. I think the message has been out there loud and clear for quite some time now."
For some reason, people like Ditka and others have construed Kaepernick's message as being anti-America or anti-troops. For starters, the troops have literally zero percent to do with this protest. And secondly, Kaepernick is proud to an American. Just this month he said, “I love America." When he first stated his intentions, he said America is great because it allows him to have the rights to speak freely about the issues he cares about.
But he also wants to improve this country. You can want to improve the country you live in, and still respect it. He just wants change, and what's so bad about Kaepernick wanting people of color to stop getting shot and killed by police?