Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Ditka issued a statement Tuesday night clarifying comments he made in regard to NFL players choosing to kneel during the playing of the national anthem. "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," the former coach of the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints said in a statement. "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." In an interview with Jim Gray on Westwood One's Monday Night Football pregame show, Ditka questioned how much oppression is seen in the United States. "All of a sudden, it's become a big deal now, about oppression," Ditka said in that interview. "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. ... If you want to work, if you want to try, if you want to put effort into yourself, I think you can accomplish anything."
Mike Ditka clarifies remarks: 'I have absolutely seen oppression'
ESPN | Oct 11