Former Bears coach Mike Ditka has weighed in on the protests sparked by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and he certainly did not hold back.
"I think it’s a problem, anybody who disrespects this country and the flag," Ditka said in a radio interview Friday. "If they don't like the country, they don't like our flag, get the hell out, that's what I think."
"I have no respect for Colin Kaepernick, he probably has no respect for me," the Hall of Fame coach continued. "That’s his choice. My choice is that I like this country. I respect our flag."
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"And I don't see all the atrocities going on in this country that people say are going on," he added. "I see opportunities if people want to look for opportunities. 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. Now if you don't work, that's a different problem," he concluded.
Ditka's disapproval of the protests came just days after three players on the Philadelphia Eagles raised their fists at Soldier Field ahead of the Bears' home opener Monday night.
That demonstration joined the national conversation ignited by Kaepernick who sat, then kneeled, for the playing of the national anthem beginning in August to call attention to the oppression of minorities across the United States.
Since then, Kaepernick has been joined by several other NFL players, including four members of the Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters, and Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall.
While some have expressed support for the message of the demonstrations, the protests have sparked outrage among others, including local police unions in Miami and San Francisco, both of which have threatened some form of boycott.
A recent poll found Kaepernick to be the most disliked player in the NFL, which was conducted just days before his cover for Time Magazine's October issue was revealed.
He revealed Tuesday that he has received death threats over his protest, and pledged to donate $100,000 in each of the next 10 months to organizations that work toward goals consistent with his message of fighting racial inequality.
This is not the first time Ditka has spoken out on social or political issues. A well-documented conservative, he has publicly expressed support for Donald Trump and flirted with the idea of speaking at the Republican National Convention in July.