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NFL Old Guard Still Resistant to Change

Evan Glotzer

Posted on July 26, 2020 23:57

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Mike Ditka is further cementing himself as a member of a rapidly growing minority.

As 2020 lurches forward, America is still dealing with two massive crises, both of which have been handled far less gracefully than they should be.

One of those crises has been the continuing fight for equality and the end to a racist system of law enforcement that disproportionately impacts people of color. 

The NFL, like many organizations, has begun to implement several initiatives to combat systemic racism and commissioner Roger Goodell even apologized for not supporting players' decisions to kneel during the National Anthem in the wake of Colin Kaepernick's activism. The league will allow players to kneel during the Anthem this season in a show that the NFL might finally be willing to let players express their voice.

However, there are still those vehemently opposed to kneeling. One such person is hall of fame tight end and coach Mike Ditka, who has shared his belief that kneelers should not be welcome in this country.

This is not the first time Ditka has made remarks about kneeling. In 2017, he said that "There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of," in response to President Trump's comments about kneeling calling NFL players who decide to do so, "sons of bitches."

While the comments are indefensible in any era, the interesting thing is, is that had Ditka made this comment even a few months ago, it would not have received much opposition. Kneeling was still viewed widely as the minority position.

However, with the killings of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, and Breonna Taylor, people have begun to change their viewpoint on kneeling, and are more accepting of it now.

Ditka and his allies are now in the minority. Yet, in spite of that, his words are nevertheless important to keep in mind as society continues to grapple with these issues; especially since Ditka is not a fringe figure who barely registered anything of note to the NFL. He is one of the best tight ends of all time, and was the head coach of one of the most iconic teams in league history, (the 1985 Chicago Bears). He was a part of ESPN’s Monday night football crew, and is known for being a character.

That is why we need to be very sensitive to what Ditka or anyone says on the subject. Those with influence and notoriety can shift a debate, and if therefore, those on the other side must do the same. Otherwise, the progress needed for widespread support will never come.

Evan Glotzer

Posted on July 26, 2020 23:57

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Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Ditka discussed his thoughts on players kneeling during the national anthem with TMZ Sports...

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