Mike Ditka: ‘There Has Been No Oppression in the Last 100 Years’

Here We Go Again

by: LaTrina Antoine AFRO Washington D.C. Editor lantoine@afro.com
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Maybe it was his ignorance on the struggles Blacks have endured throughout time? Maybe he thought he was only talking about the NFL? Or, maybe Mike Ditka, the former coach for the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears, is just another conservative guy sitting on a perch ignorant of the world below him?

Former Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka. Ditka is apologizing for saying he wasn’t aware of any racial oppression in the U.S. over the last 100 years. The famed former Chicago Bears coach issued the apology Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, a day after he made the comments during a radio interview while discussing National Football League players kneeling during the national anthem. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

“There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of,” Ditka said Oct. 9 during a Monday Night Football pregame radio interview when referencing the current protest against racial injustice that several NFL players are participating in by kneeling during the national anthem.

The comment seemingly put Ditka in the same circle of ignorance as President Donald J. Trump — two rich guys who don’t seem to think before they speak.

And several Football fans and activists agreed, taking to Twitter to profess their disgust at Ditka’s blatant disregard for not only Black history, but also American history.

“Too much data & evidence to dignify Mike Ditka’s absurdity. He should know better,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. tweeted on Oct. 10.

Ditka’s ignorance of acts of oppression that have occurred within the last century, such as the Jim Crow South, military segregation, the Tuskegee experiment, the lynching of Emmet Till, Bloody Sunday, police brutality and on and on is staggering.

“So Mr. Ditka, I know you’re 77 years old. I would venture to say that most White men of your age and generation and demographic feel the way that you do. They feel that they can see no oppression,” DL Hughley said on his radio show Oct. 11. “You sit where you sit now, because you had a country that systematically made sure you had a leg up. They gave you an artificial head start, and you believe you did it all on your own. The reason why you Mike Ditka and men like you cannot see oppression is because you don’t do what you could do to see it. If you want to see oppression Mike Ditka, all you have to do, instead of pretending like you don’t see, you want to see oppression, you want to see oppression of Black people, look behind you.”

Ditka later apologized for his comment, saying that it was taken out of context.

“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,” he said. “I have absolutely seen oppression in society in the last 100 years and I am completely intolerant of any discrimination.”

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