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Former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka is not happy with Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players who are kneeling during the national anthem as a protest against instances of police brutality and racial injustice in the US.
Ditka went on a CBS radio show in Dallas on Friday and addressed Kaepernick, ranting against the 49ers backup quarterback and the protests more broadly.
“I think it’s a problem … anybody who disrespects this country and the flag,” Ditka said. “If they don’t like the country they don’t like our flag … get the hell out.”
He continued: “I have no respect for Colin Kaepernick. He probably has no respect for me. That’s his choice. 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.”
A police officer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was charged with manslaughter on Thursday in the shooting death of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man.
In Charlotte, North Carolina, the National Guard was called in and a curfew was implemented as violent protests erupted over the death of Keith Scott, who was shot by police this week. Police have so far refused to publicly release video of the encounter that led to the shooting. Police have said they shot Scott after he ignored officers’ instructions to drop a weapon. Scott’s family and a witness, however, said he was holding a book, not a gun.
Kaepernick has said he will continue to kneel during the anthem until he sees demonstrable change. On Thursday, Time magazine announced that Kaepernick will be on the cover of its October 3 issue.