By Charlie Roumeliotis
Last week, ESPN analyst Mike Ditka said he would have taken Richie Incognito to "fist city" if he was the one being bullied. Ditka stood by those words during NFL Countdown this past Sunday, but also took a jab at Jonathan Martin for not sticking up for himself.
“I want to say one thing,” Ditka said. “If I was the coach, I wouldn’t have either Incognito, the bully, or the baby, Martin, on my team. That’s me. [Does] that make me right? No. That makes me me. And I would stand up to that, because you don’t do what Martin did and you don’t do want Incognito did. Period.”
Nobody on the set followed up on Ditka's statement, and it made Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio wonder.
"Ditka remained quiet after sharing his own view that Martin is a baby," Florio wrote Sunday. "While none of the other guys specifically directed their comments at Ditka or openly disagreed with him, the tension was palpable — and it was hard not to believe that Ditka was told to watch what he said.
As to what Ditka did say, ESPN had no comment. While far more irresponsible things have been said on their airwaves, Ditka’s insistence that Martin, who may be suffering from a real mental illness, is a “baby” represents the kind of comment that could get folks with lesser star power than Ditka removed from ESPN’s airwaves."
Ed Sherman, of the Sherman Report, also expressed his curiosity why Ditka's remarks never received a follow-up.
"Why didn’t it happen?" He said. "Was it a missed opportunity for Chris Berman and the rest of the Countdown crew, or did the panel not want to go where Ditka went?"