Mike Ditka apologizes for comment on racial oppression

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Hall of Fame NFL player and coach Mike Ditka apologized Tuesday for his harshly-criticized comments on NFL national anthem protests, in which he said, “There has been no oppression in recent years that I know of.”

When asked in a radio interview on Westwood One what he thought of the anthem protests and racial inequality in America, Ditka said that people should be “color blind.”

“I think that you have to be color blind in this country. [You have] got to look at a person for what he is and what he stands for, and how he produces. All of a sudden, it’s become a big dealing now about oppression. There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of. I don’t care who you are, how much money you make. If you don’t respect our country, then you shouldn’t be in this country playing football,” Ditka observed.

His comments were greeted with immediate venom on social media, with users reminding him of the Jim Crow laws that mandated racial segregation and the subsequent civil rights movement that lasted well into his lifetime.

Appearing on “Fox & Friends,” Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath responded to Ditka’s comments by asking him to “look up the definition of oppression.”

“[G]oing back to what Colin Kaepernick initially did, it was to point out some injustice that’s being done to the black race,” Namath said, “or to people that obviously, when you look, and I say obviously … some of these dash cams and shootings that were done to unarmed people. He was reaching out to try to get it more investigated. So, that’s where this oppression thing comes in.”

In a statement released on WGN-TV, Ditka said he was talking about the NFL, not society overall.

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