“It is time for Jack Del Rio to resign or be terminated,” Johnson said in a statement Thursday. “His comments could not have been more offensive and ignorant. The January 6 uprising – an attempted coup – was anything but a “cloud of dust”. Every day we learn more and more about how close our democracy came to autocracy. To downplay the uprising by comparing it to nationwide protests in response to a public lynching is twisted. You can’t train a majority black team while turning your back on the black community. It’s time for you to pack up and get off the field.”
Svrluga: Jack Del Rio can choose his words. Commanders can choose their trainers.
Commanders did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Johnson’s statement.
On Monday, Del Rio responded to a tweet by Norm Eisen of the Brookings Institution research group, in which Eisen was promoting a report ahead of the committee’s Jan. 6 hearings, which are scheduled to begin Thursday night.
Del Rio tweeted, “Would like to get ‘the whole story’ of why the summer of rioting, looting, arson and destruction of personal property is never discussed, but this is ??? #Common sense.”
When asked about his tweet Wednesday after an offseason training session, Del Rio described the attack on the Capitol as “a cloud of dust” that drew the ire of current and former players, fans and even elected officials.
“Really, let’s get straight to the point. What did I ask? A simple question,” Del Rio told reporters on Wednesday. “Why don’t we examine these things when we talk about them? Why don’t we investigate these things? Because it’s kind of hard for me to say — I can see it realistically, I see the pictures on TV, people’s livelihoods are being destroyed, businesses are being burned down. No problem. And then we have a cloud of dust in the Capitol. Nothing burned and we’re not going to talk about it – we’re going to make a big deal out of it.”
The team did not raise the matter Wednesday, and Commanders Coach Ron Rivera declined to discuss Del Rio’s tweets with reporters earlier in the day. Rivera said he was “not necessarily” concerned that Del Rio’s tweets would involve the dressing room, and that if there was anything to discuss it would be treated as “private.”
DelRio issued a statement on Twitter on Wednesday evening and he apologized for his comments noting that his reference to the Jan. 6 dust cloud attack was “irresponsible and negligent.” He added: “I stand by my comments condemning violence in communities across the country. I say this while expressing my support as an American citizen for peaceful protest in our country.”
But by then, two Virginia state senators — Scott A. Surovell (D-Fairfax) and Jeremy S. McPike (D-Prince William) — said they could no longer support a bill authorizing a stadium authority and helping to lure team to Virginia. Surovell tweeted that the NFL’s “indifference and intolerance” toward Del Rio’s comments reflects their “hypocrisy” and “makes me realize we won’t be seeing any more stadium bills votes this year.”
A group of DC lawmakers said Thursday they would not support moving the team to the district at the site of RFK Stadium, and Virginia Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) pulled the Plugs out the Commonwealth effort and said there would be no vote on a stadium bill this year.
Senate leader abandons bill of bringing commanders to Virginia
“Obviously that wasn’t very helpful, to say the least,” Saslaw told The Post, referencing Del Rio’s comments, “but there are so many other things out there. There were just so many things out there that a lot of people are like, ‘Saslaw, this thing will have to wait.’ ”
Over the past two years, the Commanders have been embroiled in a series of controversies, ranging from allegations of sexual harassment and assault by former male employees, allegations of financial impropriety, an investigation into the possible illegal payout of prescription pain medication by their former athletic trainer, an ongoing House Committee on Oversight and Reform investigation into the team’s workplace culture and the NFL’s handling of it, and another pending investigation into recent allegations of sexual harassment against Snyder.
The team also struggled to fill the stands at FedEx Field, which had one of the worst attendances in the NFL last year.