Mike Ditka tries to clarify his earlier “oppression” remarks

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Upon further review, maybe Mike Ditka has seen some oppression.

Or perhaps being criticized for his remarks earlier this week just brought it to his attention.

Ditka issued a statement Tuesday night to try to take the edge off comments he made about players who chose to kneel during the anthem, which came off as out-of-touch and detached from the racial realities of the United States for the last century.

“The characterization of the statement that I made does not reflect the context of the question that I was answering and certainly does not reflect my views throughout my lifetime,” Ditka said in a statement, via ESPN.com. “I have absolutely seen oppression in society in the last 100 years and I am completely intolerant of any discrimination. The interview was about the NFL and the related issues. That’s where my head was at. I was quoted in the interview stating, ‘You have to be colorblind.’ I stated that you should look at a person for what they are and not the color of their skin. I’m sorry if anyone was offended.”

The problem with the colorblind argument is that it begins with the assumption that the colors are equal. And while that’s a laudable goal, it’s a laughable interpretation of American history. They have not been, as perhaps Ditka remembered from growing up during the Civil Rights era. That’s what led players, beginning with Colin Kaepernick, to kneel for the national anthem to protest inequality of law enforcement response for racial minorities.

The Hall of Fame tight end for the Cowboys, Bears and Eagles, and former Bears and Saints coach can claim he was taken out of context, but here’s what he said. After being asked by host Jim Gray on Westwood One about previous athlete-activists such as Muhammad Ali and Jesse Owens, Ditka replied:

“I don’t know what social injustices [there] have been,” Ditka said. “Muhammad Ali rose to the top. Jesse Owens is one of the classiest individuals that ever lived. Is everything based on color? I don’t see it that way. You have to be color blind in this country. You have 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.

“But, all of a sudden, it has become a big deal now — about oppression. 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. I think the opportunity is there for everybody — race, religion, creed, color, nationality. If you want to work, if you want to try, if you want to put effort in, you can accomplish anything. And we have watched that throughout our history of our country.”

We have also watched the deck stacked clearly in favor of one color over others during that 100-year timeframe Ditka represented. But because it always worked in his favor and he was able to work hard and become successful, Ditka had no real reason to consider that others might not be as fortunate.

18 responses to “Mike Ditka tries to clarify his earlier “oppression” remarks

  1. >”I’m sorry if anyone was offended.”

    If you ever find yourself about to say those words in that order, don’t. Either stop after “I’m sorry” or don’t say the phrase at all. Lamest non-apology that ever was.

  2. 1 – Interesting how the right to free speech only applies to some and not others.

    2 – People saying this isn’t about the flag, military, or the fallen warriors are wrong. That’s exactly what the star spangled banner is all about, everything.

    3 – There are social issues that need to be dealt with in this country, if you have the platform to speak up about you should, and have the right to, and listen also. But how many of these players are actually speaking? Kneeling for the Anthem is misguided and the silence around what their message makes their message lost or confusing. They are accomplishing nothing.

  3. What affiliation does this guy currently have with pro football? Why are we even talking about him? Throw him on the Manziel/Tebow pile.

  4. “3 – There are social issues that need to be dealt with in this country, if you have the platform to speak up about you should, and have the right to, and listen also. But how many of these players are actually speaking? Kneeling for the Anthem is misguided and the silence around what their message makes their message lost or confusing. They are accomplishing nothing.”

    Remember when VP was offended by the protest last weekend? He took the time to address the players and listen to their concerns. They actually had a dialogue, going back and forth – WHY is this happening, WHAT can we immediately do to help, and WHERE do we go from here? Although no concrete solutions were determined, it was truly the greatest unifying moment that this administration has attempted with the American people. I didn’t vote for Trump and Pence, but that moment made me proud.

  5. This old, white males take on culture and opportunity are exactly why this issue is so important. Systemic racism is now seen as equality those that are in the majority. The fact that they’re trying to frame this as a flag issue is just what a racist would do. If you support Trump on this issue you might just be a little bit racist.

  6. To claim that Mike was off by 50 years suggests a total disregard for actual history. The Civil Rights movement didn’t end in the ’60s. People of color, the LGBTQ community, Americans with disabilities, Muslims, Women and others have been subjected to oppression in each of the subsequent decades.

  7. Statement 1 “..There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of…”

    Statement 2 “The characterization of the statement that I made does not reflect the context of the question that I was answering and certainly does not reflect my views throughout my lifetime,’ Ditka said in a statement, via ESPN.com. ‘I have absolutely seen oppression in society in the last 100 years”

    Complete back pedal

  8. 3rdngoal says:
    October 11, 2017 at 7:50 am
    1 – Interesting how the right to free speech only applies to some and not others.

    2 – People saying this isn’t about the flag, military, or the fallen warriors are wrong. That’s exactly what the star spangled banner is all about, everything.

    3 – There are social issues that need to be dealt with in this country, if you have the platform to speak up about you should, and have the right to, and listen also.
    ——–
    But only speak up if it’s under your terms and conditions, right???

  9. fievel03 says:
    October 11, 2017 at 8:27 am

    Remember when VP was offended by the protest last weekend? He took the time to address the players and listen to their concerns. They actually had a dialogue, going back and forth – WHY is this happening, WHAT can we immediately do to help, and WHERE do we go from here? Although no concrete solutions were determined, it was truly the greatest unifying moment that this administration has attempted with the American people. I didn’t vote for Trump and Pence, but that moment made me proud.
    ———
    Wow. You couldn’t be more wrong. That little political stunt cost the taxpayers at least $240,000, and it meant nothing.

  10. those who agreed with Ditka that there has been no oppression in the 100yrs. need to join him in checking for CTE symptoms. he still woulda been wrong if he said the last 100 days.

  11. Those he represents (the Klan/Nazi’s) heard him loud and clear and celebrated his statement. He knew exactly what he was doing. Not slick.

  12. 3rdngoal says:
    October 11, 2017 at 7:50 am
    1 – Interesting how the right to free speech only applies to some and not others.

    2 – People saying this isn’t about the flag, military, or the fallen warriors are wrong. That’s exactly what the star spangled banner is all about, everything.

    3 – There are social issues that need to be dealt with in this country, if you have the platform to speak up about you should, and have the right to, and listen also. But how many of these players are actually speaking? Kneeling for the Anthem is misguided and the silence around what their message makes their message lost or confusing. They are accomplishing nothing.

    YALL JUST DONT GET IT DO YOU

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