Alternate headline: “Ditka wraps up 2020 Republican nomination.”
“I think it’s a problem,” Ditka said. “Anybody who disrespects this country and the flag. If they don’t like the country, they don’t like our flag, get the hell out.”…
“I have no respect for Colin Kaepernick,” Ditka added. “He probably has no respect for me, that’s his choice. My choice is that 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.”
That’s as pure as nationalism gets. What does he think of Richard Sherman’s press conference, I wonder? You can object to Kaepernick because he’s protesting the anthem, because he’s turning the game on Sunday into a political spectacle, and/or because he’s criticizing the police. Sherman did only the last of those three. If that’s “get the hell out” grounds too, I don’t know what an acceptable form of criticism would be.
Interesting numbers via ESPN:
Colin Kaepernick is now the most disliked player in the NFL…
The poll, taken last week, revealed that Kaepernick was “disliked a lot” by 29 percent of those polled, more than any of the more than 350 players asked about in the survey. Kaepernick finished ahead, in the dislike category, of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (22 percent), Miami Dolphins defensive end Ndamukong Suh (21 percent), New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (13 percent) and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (10 percent).
Among African-Americans, Kaepernick has never been more popular. The poll shows 42 percent of African-Americans now say they like the 49ers quarterback “a lot,” while only 2 percent dislike him “a lot.” Two years ago, only 16 percent of African-Americans said they liked Kaepernick “a lot,” while 3 percent disliked him “a lot.”
They should have followed up by asking everyone what they think Kaepernick’s protest is about, specifically. I bet whites are more likely to see it as a protest of America writ large while blacks are more likely to see it as a protest of racism by police. Although maybe not: When YouGov took a poll on Kaepernick recently, they asked people if they agree or disagree with the statement “The United States oppresses black people and people of color.”
A lot of whites disagree with Kaepernick’s underlying point, not just the way he’s chosen to make it. Among Republicans the split is even more stark, 10/79 versus 59/30 for Democrats. When I say Ditka’s in the running for 2020, I’m only half-joking. Well, three-quarters joking. But, in the age of Trump, definitely no more than three-quarters.
Incidentally, speaking as a Jets fan, I’m appalled that Tom Brady didn’t place higher on the list of most hated players. That might be worthy of an anthem protest in its own right.