Former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka has joined critics of the St. Louis Rams and the NFL for not disciplining five players for Sunday’s “hands up” stunt.
In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, “Da Coach” said that it was a shame that the Rams and the NFL both allowed five players to take the field on November 30 with their hands up in emulation of the now-discredited claim that Ferguson teenager Michael Brown had his hands up in surrender when he was shot by a white police officer in August.
“It’s a shame this thing has come to this,” Ditka said. “The shame of it is, I’m not sure they care about Michael Brown or anything else. This was a reason to protest and to go out and loot. Is this the way to celebrate the memory of Michael Brown? Is this an excuse to be lawless? Somebody has to tell me that. I don’t understand it. I understand what the Rams’ take on this was. I’m embarrassed for the players more than anything. They want to take a political stand on this? Well, there are a lot of other things that have happened in our society that people have not stood up and disagreed about.”
After the five Rams players’ “hands up” stunt, neither the team nor the NFL decided to discipline them for their showboating.
Ditka went on to criticize those who are attacking the police in Ferguson and around the country. “I wasn’t in Ferguson,” the coach continued. “I don’t know exactly what happened. But I know one thing: If we dismantle and limit the power of our policemen any more than we have already, then we’re going to have a lot of problems in this country.”
Finally, the coach also lamented that Officer Darren Wilson’s life has been upended by the incident. “This policeman’s life is ruined. Why? Because we have to break somebody down. Because we have to even out the game. I don’t know. I don’t get it. Maybe I’m just old fashioned,” he said.
Ditka also said, “I don’t want to hear about this hands-up crap,” because, he said, it is clear “that’s not what happened” in Ferguson when officer Wilson confronted Michael Brown.
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