ASHBURN — Washington Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio referred to the Jan. 6, 2021 riot as a “dust-up” Wednesday in an effort to defend his earlier tweet that compared the attack on the U.S. Capitol to the protests about George Floyd’s death.
Del Rio replied to a tweet Monday about the upcoming hearing related to Jan. 6 and wrote he “would love to understand ‘the whole story’ about why the summer of riots, looting, burning and the destruction of personal property is never discussed, but this is ??? #CommonSense”
Del Rio didn’t back down from the viewpoint when meeting with reporters this week after practice, saying he “just asked a simple question” and defended his right to do so as an American.
“I can realistically look at it, I can look at images on the TV, people’s livelihoods are being destroyed, businesses are being burned down, no problem,” Del Rio said. “And then we have a dust-up at the Capitol, nothing burned down, and we’re going to make that a major deal. I just think it’s kind of two standards, and if we apply the same standard and we’re going to be reasonable with each other, let’s have a discussion.
“That’s all it was. Let’s have a discussion. We’re Americans. Let’s talk it through.”
This is far from the first time that Del Rio has used his Twitter account to wade into politics. Just this offseason, Del Rio tweeted in support of Dinesh D’Souza’s voter fraud film “2000 Mules” and the judge who struck down the country’s federal mask mandate. In June 2020, he responded to a fan who criticized him for being a Trump supporter by tweeting: I”m 100% for America, if you’re not you can kiss my A$$.” He also reshared a fabricated tweet attributed to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
After comparing Jan. 6 and George Floyd, Del Rio was asked if he was worried that his political opinions could alienate any of his players. A number of them, after all, spoke out after Floyd’s killing by a police officer. Defensive end Chase Young, for example, joined fellow NFL stars in a campaign that called on the league to condemn racism. The Commanders also canceled a practice in August 2020 after the shooting of Jacob Blake.
Del Rio said if any player had a problem, he would welcome a discussion.
“Anything that I ever say or write, I’d be comfortable saying or writing in front of everybody that I work with, players and coaches,” Del Rio said. “I express myself as an American. We have that ability. I love this country. I believe what I believe and I’ve said what I want to say. Every now and then, there are some people that get offended by it.”
Commanders coach Ron Rivera said he wasn’t “necessarily” concerned Del Rio’s tweets could impact the locker room. He declined to share whether the two had spoken about Monday’s tweet.
“I’m not going to talk about stuff that I talk with my coaches about, especially stuff that’s off the field and not pertaining to football,” Rivera said. “It’s just everyone’s entitled to their opinion though.”
Cornerback Kendall Fuller said he was unaware of Del Rio’s tweet and after it was read to him, the defensive back said he didn’t have a reaction. Asked if players still talk about social justice issues openly in the locker room, Fuller said discussions weren’t as prevalent but still occur.
Defensive lineman Jonathan Allen told NBC Sports Washington that he doesn’t care about Del Rio’s tweet.
“As long as shows up every day and works hard, that’s what I want from my defensive coordinator,” Allen said.
Outside of the facility, Del Rio faced a wave of backlash for the tweet. Former Washington running back Brian Mitchell ripped into Rivera and Del Rio on the radio, blaming the head coach for not condemning the message and calling the defensive coordinator a “damn idiot.” Former cornerback DeAngelo Hall tweeted a clown emoji at Del Rio.
Del Rio’s tweet drew almost 1,500 replies and more than 500 quote-tweets. When a fan opined that Del Rio saw “black people begging agents of the state to stop executing them” and “white men trying to overthrow results of a democratic election & violently assaulting cops” as the same thing, Del Rio replied: “Uhh yeah sure” with a Pinocchio emoji.
“It’s about love and respect,” Del Rio told reporters. “I love my guys. I respect my guys. But I also love the fact that I’m an American and that means I’m free to express myself and I’m not afraid to do that.”
Original Article: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2022/jun/8/jack-del-rio-refers-jan-6-dust-defends-tweets/