Former Carolina Panther Steve Smith cut loose with a string of tweets Tuesday, criticizing Hall of Fame tight end and coach Mike Ditka for reportedly believing minorities haven’t been and aren’t oppressed.
“Really? Civil Rights Act of 1964, voting act of 1965, Rosa Parks 1955,” Smith tweeted Tuesday morning. “To say this gives us a peek into you're heart. Jim crow laws, Brown v. Board of education Great coach..clueless person.”
Smith went a step further, calling Ditka a “dumb a$$” for claiming “this never happened.”
“To act like this country is perfect and say history hasn’t happened is reckless and untrue. We can do better,” Smith said.
Former Bears coach Mike Ditka made the comments during an appearence on Westwood One’s Monday Night Football pregame show with Jim Gray, reported the Chicago Sun-Times. Much of the the six-minute segment centered on the NFL’s ongoing issue of players kneeling during the national anthem..
Ditka does not support the anthem protests that have erupted on NFL fields around the country.
“Is everything based on color? I don’t see it that way. You have to be color blind in this country,” Ditka was quoted as saying.
“But, all of a sudden, it has become a big deal now — about oppression. 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 — race, religion, creed, color, nationality.”
The comments took a lot of fire on social media Tuesday, with one lifelong Bears fan writing: “I loved Mike Ditka as a coach and he was perfect for the Bears Super Bowl run. However, he’s become the Bobby Knight of the NFL; a championship coach with questionable character, boorish behavior and chatter born of ignorance, bitterness and stupidity. Embarrassing.”
Smith took some heat as well, when some on Twitter took him to task on behalf of all protesting NFL players.
“How many countries pay u millions to play a kids game??” tweeted one critic.
“How (a)bout you and all the protesters go to city hall or the state capital to protest, not at a football game,” tweeted Joseph Bailey.
Smith’s response was bristling, and included a photo of him visiting troops overseas.
“Sorry, have you seen me protest. Wrong blk athlete! I support my military. That's me visiting the troops in South Korea.”