Sports

ESPN Removes Mike Ditka From ‘Sunday NFL Countdown’ Days After Pro-Trump Interview

ESPN is removing NFL legend Mike Ditka from “Sunday NFL Countdown” and moving him into an “unspecified emeritus-type NFL role at the network,” The Big Lead reports.

According to The Big Lead, Matt Hasselbeck and Charles Woodson will take over for the exiting Ditka and former first overall pick Keyshawn Johnson.

Throughout the 2016 cycle, Coach Ditka has given several interviews in support of Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

NFL Pro Football Hal of Famer Mike Ditka talks to the WFAN radio at the Jacksonville Convention Center on Feb. 2, 2005. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)   NFL Pro Football Hal of Famer Mike Ditka talks to the WFAN radio at the Jacksonville Convention Center on Feb. 2, 2005. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)   

He first endorsed the real estate mogul back in September 2015, and in an interview last week, Ditka said Trump exhibits the type of leadership President Obama has failed to bring to the White House. (AUDIO: Ditka: Obama Is Daaah ‘Worst President We’ve Ever Had’)

In January, a Deadspin report uncovered a leaked ESPN memo, urging on-air talent to avoid making political statements.

The memo — which ESPN claims was circulated in early January — requires employees to “refrain from political editorializing, personal attacks or ‘drive-by’ comments regarding the candidates and their campaigns (including but not limited to on platforms such as Twitter or other social media). (RELATED: ESPN Shuts Down Curt Schilling For Conservative Views)

ESPN declined The Daily Caller’s request for an on the record comment.

UPDATEDitka released a statement through ESPN in which he welcomed the change.

This new role is really a blessing. It’s something I asked for. After many years of weekend travel, I’m thrilled I’ll get to watch NFL games on Sundays and Monday nights in the comfort of my own home. I enjoy being part of the game and part of ESPN. I really do. So this is a great solution.

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