Mike Ditka admits he doesn't know exactly what happened in Ferguson, Missouri, but the former Chicago Bears coach seems pretty certain about what didn't happen.
In response to five St. Louis Rams players taking the field while making the "hands up, don't shoot" gesture before their game on Sunday, Ditka told the Chicago Sun-Times: "I don’t want to hear about this hands-up crap. That’s not what happened. I don’t know exactly what did happen, but I know that’s not what happened."
The "hands up, don't shoot" gesture has come to symbolize solidarity with the protests in Ferguson. It's modeled after the position some witnesses said Michael Brown was in when he was fatally shot by then-Officer Darren Wilson.
Before going on to say he felt "embarrassed" for the players, Ditka blasted the reaction to a grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson: "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."
The 75-year-old NFL legend and current ESPN analyst has spoken out about other sports controversies in the past.
After ex-Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice was suspended by the NFL following the release of a video that appeared to show him knocking his then-fiancée unconscious, Ditka said: "I don't know Ray at all. I'm sure he's not a bad guy, but he made a bad mistake." Ditka then lamented that Rice's "earning power is destroyed."
In August, Ditka declared the debate over the Washington Redskins name "so stupid it’s appalling." The former coach went on to call critics of the Redskins name "silly" and "asinine."
Read more about Mike Ditka's reaction at the Chicago Sun-Times.