September 24, 2016

This morning Joy Reid hosted three "sports guys", radio hosts Pete Dominick and Fernand Armandi, and The Nation's Sports Editor Dave Zirin, to talk about Mike Ditka's douchitude when it comes to Colin Kaepernick. She started the segment with the statement from Ditka:

MIKE DITKA (RADIO RECORDING): They don't like our country and flag get the hell out. I have no respect for Colin Kaepernick and he probably has no respect for me, that's his choice. My choice is I like this country and I respect our flag. I don't see all the atrocities going on in this country people are saying going on. I see opportunities if people want to look for opportunity. This is the land of opportunity because you can be anything you want to be if you work. If you don't work, that's a different problem.

JOY REID: Alrighty then. Former Chicago Bears Coach Mike Ditka there didn't mince words on offering his take on 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's silent protest during the National Anthem. It's a protest movement that’s growing by the week, taken up by other NFL players along with players at the college and high school levels and athletes in other sports. Kaepernick's message is resonating in Charlotte, North Carolina in the wake of the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. And tomorrow, the Carolina Panthers plan to face the Minnesota Vikings in their stadium in Charlotte. The NFL initially explored moving or postponing the game over safety concerns. Vikings quarterback Terrance Newman who spoke out about a controversy when Philando Castile was killed earlier this year, had this to say about traveling to Charlotte for the game.

TERRANCE NEWMAN: The fact that we to have, you know, a situation where people are being hurt, cops, civilians, everybody, that's definitely an issue. So we were just talking upstairs about in Charlotte, are you going to go outside? People are nervous in talking about that and any time you have an issue talking about a person's safety, you definitely have to take that to heart.

REID: Joining me now to speak, radio hosts Pete Dominick and Fernand Amandi, and Dave Zirin, Sports Editor for The Nation Magazine. Dave, coming right to you, your thoughts on Mike Ditka's thoughts.

DAVE ZIRIN: Mike Ditka said basically what Donald Trump has said, that Colin Kaepernick should find another country to live in. Let's be clear, especially on this day when we open up the Smithsonian Museum of African American History, when you tell people whose ancestors are slaves and whose blood is in the soil of this country, you are telling them to go back to Africa. That's what that means. That is a racially loaded thing to say. And Mike Ditka saying it now or Donald Trump saying it now, it's no different from when a US Congressman said it to Paul Robeson 60 years ago and Paul Robson's response then, should be the response today. Robeson said, “I'm not going to another country because my father was a slave and my people died to build this country and I’m going to stay here and have part of it like you and no fascist-minded people will drive me from it.” That's Mike Ditka, that’s the tradition he's standing in, and to me, that’s the only response that’s appropriate.

REID: It is amazing, Fernand, that you have people who feel really free in this era, this sort of Trump era to kind of express thoughts like that, like what Mike Ditka said and he's a supporter of Donald Trump. It’s not just Donald Trump. It’s unleashing something that’s there. You now have Steve Clevenger who has been suspended for remarks he made about Black Lives Matter on his Twitter feed and after he was suspended, even worse stuff came out that was on his Facebook page.. He said, “Black Lives Matter pathetic. Obama you are the reason. They should be locked behind bars like animals.” What is going on, Fernand?

FERNAND AMANDI: Maybe baseball has a problem with chronic traumatic encephalopathy with this concussion problem because that's one of the most bone-headed things I've ever heard, Joy. And to be honest with you, I find the discussion, the false equivalences that are made, that in this case, if you express your right to dissent on the National Anthem or the flag, it means you hate this country with the same equvalency that if you are for Black Lives Matter, you're anti-white. What happened to the Constitution, Joy? I wish the Kahn’s would share their copy with Mike Ditka, as well. Because one of the reasons Mike's parents left Poland to come to this country was to give Mike the opportunity to criticize Colin Kaepernick. It just seems like it’s a one-way street and I don't understand why you can't say something that you may disagree with but have to leave the country at the same time. Joy, it's the unleashing of this, more and more, feeling this sense in this country that Donald Trump has given rise to, that you can think what you want to in this country, unless it disagrees with what we think. And I think it's wrong.

REID: Pete, you know, Pete, you're having these things happening at once. They can't understand why Colin Kaepernick would want to take the knee during the anthem, it’s unpatriotic, and then after what happened in Tulsa and North Carolina, do people look at it again and say wait a minute, maybe there is something worth protesting here. Is that what you hear in terms of feedback? The people who may be opposed to what Kaepernick is doing?

PETE DOMINICK: Unfortunately, we're well in our camps and have our opinions and correspond with the biases so much. It's interesting to see Black athletes and White athletes disagree on this. You mentioned the Seattle pitcher. I don't think he has a concussion issue. I think he has a reading issue an ignorance issue and advantage he doesn't understand. Same thing with Mike Ditka, who might know a lot about football. You know who doesn’t like him? His former players. He doesn't know anything about this country or its history. It's so evident in those remarks. I'm so tired of hearing people whether it be on my radio show or right now after I appear on your show saying love it or leave it. If you don't like this country, get out of it. It's ridiculous. The idea I don't want to stand for the National Anthem, you might as well live in North Korea! It's ridiculous. From the civil rights movement, to the gay rights movement, to the environmental movement, we want to make this country better! That is what the protest is about and voting is about and democracy is about. I don't want to leave this country. I want to make this country better. I don't want to keep it the way it is. That's what Colin Kaepernick and many athletes are saying. It's not so much, it gets so lost. It's not just about the unarmed shooting. You can add to this. Not just about the shooting of unarmed black people or white people, or anybody. It's about the excessive use of force and about the rules -- and one thing we do not hear nearly enough on cable television or in the conversation -- it is about the drug war. We've got to end this. It has so much to do with drugs. It’s behind so many of the shootings and it’s something we have to talk about, it’s always the elephant in the room, in my humble opinion.

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