TMZ caught up with legendary sports commentator Mike Ditka to get his opinion on athletes not standing for the national anthem, specifically on 9/11:
TMZ REPORTER: Is it disrespectful to not stand for the national anthem on the day, on the anniversary of hundreds of first responders dying trying to rescue innocent civilians who were attacked by terrorists?
DITKA: Well, you know the answer to that. Yeah, of course it is, but people are gonna do what they want to do. This is a different generation of people. In other words, they think a lot of things don't apply to them, but hey, it is what it is. People are entitled, they got a right to do anything they want to do as long as they don't break the law, or hurt people.
If their protest is gonna be that, fine, it’s gonna be that. But don't forget now, that's a minority. So, for the majority, people are gonna understand what 9/11 meant, what this country stands for, the values that we have, and they're gonna go in that direction.
You can't stop everybody. There [are] always going to be some malcontents. Let them be malcontents, let them do their thing, and they'll move on, nobody will think about it, nobody will remember who they were. The fact that they didn't stand for the national anthem, that's their own – you know, they have a right to do that. They have a right to do anything they wanna do. I just disagree with it.
TMZ REPORTER: Is this one day though that you would like to see the – even though you have the right – you'd like to see the protest put on hold?
DITKA: I'd like to see it put on hold every day. I mean, there is a time and place for everything. Before a football game is not the time and place for it, period.
TMZ REPORTER: What would the short message be to anybody who is thinking about not standing for the anthem Monday night?
DITKA: God bless America.