"There's always going to be some malcontents," Ditka said. "Let them be malcontents, let them do their thing. They'll move on, nobody will think about it, nobody will remember who they were."
Ditka said he acknowledges the players have their rights to protest however they want but disagrees with the principle.
"I'd like to see it put on hold every day," Ditka said of the protests. "There's a time and place for everything. Before a football game is not the time and place for it. Period."
A year ago, Ditka publicly said anyone who protests the anthem should "get the hell out" of the United States. His stance seems to have softened somewhat over the last year, but he remains stridently against the display.
Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid and Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat during the national anthem Sunday.
It's unclear if any players plan on staging a similar protest Monday, which is the 16th anniversary of the terror attacks on the United States.