Ditka Versus Da Charity

Dissolves fund he established for ex-players
By Lev Weinstein,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2007 11:45 PM CST
Former Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka speaks during a news conference promoting Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund, a charity that will provide aid to retired NFL players in need, as former Minnesota...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Hall of Fame Assistance Trust was little more than friends "just mailing out checks to Hall of Famers we knew were having problems," according to the legendary player, coach and founder of the organization, Mike Ditka. Ditka announced yesterday that he will dissolve the charity, which gave away a mere $57,000 of the $1.3 million it raised, USA Today reports.

More than $715,000 was spent on fund raising, a move Ditka defends, despite recent public backlash. "There was nothing wrong that was ever done, except the money was accumulated...probably not enough was given out," said Ditka. His organization's remaining $600,000 will be split between fellow football charity Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund, and a Catholic home for the disabled in Chicago.