Mike Ditka says that ESPN definitely leans to the left politically and that despite supporting Donald Trump he does not belong at the convention in Cleveland.
“I think they lean that way,” the Super Bowl-winning player and coach said of his employer’s leftward leanings. “Yes, there’s no questions about it.”
Ditka, who received a demotion from ESPN after calling Barack Obama the worst president in U.S. history earlier this year, says that a convention speaking slot just didn’t fit for him. “I support Trump all the way, I really do,” he told the Sporting News. “I just don’t think that’s where I belong, in Cleveland right now, I really don’t.”
He did not elaborate whether he arrived at this decision personally or he came to it as a professional necessity at the insistence of his bosses. He also refrained from offering another assessment of the president after his negative one issued on talk radio earlier this year precipitated ESPN lowering his profile on the network.
The 76-year-old speaking to the 130-year-old publication did weigh in on other controversies. He called Deflategate “overblown” and lamented the targeting of police in Baton Rouge and elsewhere.
“Where would we be without the law?” Ditka asked. “Without people to enforce the law? I mean, stop and think. I think that’s a problem now. People act. They don’t stop and think. Stop and think, what are the ramifications of going out and shooting three policemen?”
ESPN released a memo earlier this year instructing talent, “We should refrain from political editorializing, personal attacks or ‘drive-by’ comments regarding the candidates and their campaigns.” The network subsequently fired Curt Schilling for saying that males do not belong in women’s restrooms even if they masquerade as females and knocked Ditka off Sunday NFL Countdown immediately after he criticized President Obama. Last week, the network showcased Vice President Joe Biden and featured several impassioned speeches supporting gun control at its ESPY awards show.