Del Rio’s comments were in response to questions related to a social media post he made earlier in the week. The 59-year-old veteran soccer coach has been outspoken on Twitter in each of the three offseasons he has spent with Commanders, often over conservative political issues.
Svrluga: Jack Del Rio chose his words. Commanders can choose their trainers.
The latest tweet came Monday night in response to a report by the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, about the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, which after 11 months and more than 1,000 interviews will begin to hold hearings on Thursday. Del Rio wrote: ‘I’d like to get the ‘full story’ as to why the summer of rioting, looting, arson and destruction of personal property is never discussed, but it’s?? ? #Common sense.”
Later Wednesday, Del Rio issued an apology, saying “to refer to this situation as dust was irresponsible and negligent and I’m sorry.”
“I stand by my comments condemning violence in communities across the country,” he said in a statement. “I say this while expressing my support as an American citizen for a peaceful protest in our country.”
Del Rio’s comments earlier in the day appear to be at odds with the NFL’s recent messages of racial justice and run counter to how the league and his own team have responded to Floyd’s death. In June 2020, Washington coach Ron Rivera said he would support players who took a knee during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality, and in August coach- chief canceled a practice to host a team-wide discussion on racial justice after the shooting of Jacob Blake.
Commanders Chairman Jason Wright has led the team’s recent efforts to promote racial justice and workforce diversity. This became a theme in the team’s search for a new stadium site, when Maryland officials pointed to the social change the team could bring by keeping its site in predominantly black Prince George’s County. Neither Wright nor a team spokesperson responded to requests for comment Wednesday.
Virginia lawmakers are currently considering legislation intended to entice COs to move to Virginia, and some have indicated that Del Rio’s comments could resonate in Richmond and endanger the stadium’s efforts. “I just made the deal for my vote to be NO,” said Sen. Jeremy S. McPike (D-Prince William) tweeted Wednesday. “I think what’s burning today is the stadium.”
McPike told 106.7 The Fan he was canceling a Thursday meeting with Wright to discuss stadium legislation, saying “there is too much going on with the organization. They have to pull themselves together. McPike had previously expressed reservations about proposed stadium legislation and shared transportation concerns around a potential location in Woodbridge.
Virginia State Senator Scott A. Surovell (D-Fairfax) also criticized the commanders coach, saying Del Rio’s comments “makes it clear to me that we won’t be seeing more votes on stadium bills this year.”
Del Rio’s remarks also angered some fans and commentators. Former Washington cornerback DeAngelo Hall tweeted a clown emoji to the veteran coach, and former Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin called Del Rio “an ignorant, ignorant man.”
“Protesting someone’s murder is not the same as attempting a coup because you failed in an election,” he added. Baldwin tweeted. “Not to say vandalism is okay, but let’s not try to pretend they are the same.”
Former Washington player Brian Mitchell called Rivera to remedy the situation.
“How to do [you] do you expect anyone on this team to be outspoken when you have a guy like that as defensive coordinator? » Mitchell said on his radio show 106.7 The Fan Wednesday.
Mitchell likened Del Rio’s comments to a furious outburst from Rivera that followed a collision between two players during practice Wednesday.
“I don’t care if Ron Rivera gets mad at somebody having a collision until he gets off his a– and goes to that fucking idiot he hired as defensive coordinator,” Mitchell said. “That’s what I don’t care about. And if he can’t do it, then he’s not the right man to lead this fucking football team.
Rivera declined to discuss Del Rio’s tweets with reporters on Wednesday and wouldn’t say if he discussed them with his defensive coordinator. Rivera said he was “not necessarily worried” that Del Rio’s comments will affect the locker room, which is predominantly black and includes many players who have supported the Floyd protests with words and social media posts two years ago. If it becomes a problem, Rivera said, he will deal with it.
“How I handle it, I’m not going to share with you guys because it’s going to be a private matter,” he added.
Del Rio played 11 seasons in the NFL before embarking on a coaching career. He previously served as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars (2003-11) and Oakland Raiders (2015-017). Del Rio said Wednesday he was not worried his tweets would offend gamers — in part because he didn’t think “race had anything to do with” the Jan. 6 uprising — or that his use of Twitter could affect the team.
“Anything I say or write, I would be comfortable saying or writing in front of everyone I work with, players and coaches,” Del Rio said. “I speak as an American; we have that ability. I love this country, and I believe what I believe, and I said what I meant. From time to time, there are people who are offended by it. »
Del Rio said if any of his players were offended by his comments, he would welcome a discussion.
“I would talk to anyone about it,” he said. “No problem. Anytime. But they are not [offended]. I’m just expressing myself, and I think all of us as Americans have a right to express ourselves, especially if you’re respectful. I am respectful. I just asked a simple question. Really. Let’s cut to the chase. What did I ask? A simple question. Why don’t we examine these things [around the 2020 protests]?”
In an interview with NBC Sports Washington, one of the defense’s most outspoken leaders, tackle Jonathan Allen, said that while he was aware of Del Rio’s tweets, they didn’t get a lot of backlash. discussions in the locker room.
“At the end of the day, you can have a difference of opinion and still respect each other,” Allen said. “I feel like that’s what it’s all about in our country. This is what our the team on. So, I mean, me personally, I don’t care what his opinion is as long as he shows up every day and works hard. That’s what I expect from my defensive coordinator.
Veteran cornerback Kendall Fuller said he hadn’t seen Del Rio’s tweet, and after it was read to him, he said he had no reaction.
“If I have a reaction or a feeling towards something, I will express it with him,” he said.
Since the summer of 2020, Fuller said, players have had ongoing discussions about the race in the locker room.
“It’s definitely something that guys still have,” Fuller said. “It may not be as wide as how it was when it all happened. But it’s something you still see, conversations that guys still have. Like everything in the locker room. I love NFL locker rooms because everyone is so comfortable. We all know each other, we are all comfortable with each other, everyone is open to listening and hearing from everyone.