ASHBURN, Va. — Jack Del Rio, defense coordinator for the Washington Commanders, issued an apology Wednesday after calling the Jan. 6, 2021 riots at the U.S. Capitol a “dustup.”
“I made comments earlier today regarding the attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021. Calling this situation dust was irresponsible and negligent and I am sorry,” Del Rio said in a statement released on Twitter. “I stand by my comments condemning violence in communities across the country. I say this while also expressing my support as an American citizen for peaceful protests in our country. I have fully supported all peaceful protests in America.
“I love, respect and support all my fellow coaches, players and staff I work with and respect their views and opinions.”
On Monday, in response to a post about upcoming hearings on the Jan. 6 events, Del Rio tweeted, “Would like to understand ‘the whole story’ of why the summer of rioting, looting, arson and destruction of personal property is never discussed , but this is??? #CommonSense.”
Del Rio told reporters Wednesday before his apology that he was asking just one question about events in the spring and summer of 2020 that followed George Floyd’s death.
“Why don’t we investigate these things — while we’re talking about this — why don’t we investigate these things?” DelRio said. “I can look at pictures on TV, people’s livelihoods are being destroyed, businesses are being burned down, no problem. And then we’ve got a cloud of dust in the Capitol, nothing burned down, and we’re going to make a big deal out of it. I just think it’s two standards and if we apply the same standard and we’re reasonable with each other, let’s have a discussion. That’s all it was. Let’s have a discussion.
The House of Representatives committee investigating the 2021 insurgency will hold its first public hearing on Thursday. The six hearings, expected to last until the end of June, will be the first time the committee has disclosed “previously unseen material” about what it uncovered over the course of a 10-month investigation that touched on almost every aspect of the insurgency.
Unlike any other congressional committee in recent memory, the panel’s work has been both eagerly awaited by Democrats and regularly criticized by Donald Trump and the former president’s allies, including some Republicans in Congress who complain that it is partisan .
This wasn’t the first time Del Rio had caused a stir with his tweets, although there was no sign it had become an issue with his players. Commanders defensive tackle Jonathan Allen told NBC Sports Washington that the tweets were off topic in the locker room.
“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion,” Allen said. “Some people choose to share it on Twitter, some don’t. They can have disagreements and still respect each other. I think that’s what our country is about, that’s what this team is about. I don’t care about his opinion as long as he shows up every day and works hard. That’s what I want from my defensive coordinator.
Cornerback Kendall Fuller said Wednesday that he was not aware of Del Rio’s tweets.
When a reporter read the tweet to Fuller, he replied, “I have no reaction at the moment. If I have a reaction or a feeling about something, I will express it with him.”
Former Washington cornerback DeAngelo Hall, the team’s radio analyst for the past two years, tweeted a clown emoji in Del Rio on Wednesday in response to one of his tweets.
Two years ago, in response to criticism he received from other Twitter users – and when some identified him as a Trump supporter – Del Rio tweeted: “I’m 100% pro America if you’re not you can kiss mine.” A$$.”
Commanders head coach Ron Rivera has not revealed if he spoke to Del Rio about his tweets.
“I’m not going to talk about things that I talk about with my coaches, especially things that are off the field and have nothing to do with football,” Rivera said. “But everyone is entitled to their opinion.
“If it ever becomes an issue or a situation, we will have that discussion. For now it’s something I’ll look into if it comes up.”
Earlier Wednesday, reporters asked Del Rio if he was concerned that his tweets could potentially have a negative impact on black players.
“Anything I ever say or write, I would like to say or write in front of everyone I work with – players and coaches,” Del Rio said. “I’m expressing myself as an American — we have that ability. I love this country and I believe what I believe and I’ve said what I want to say. Every once in a while there are some people who feel offended by that.”
Del Rio told reporters during his availability that he was not concerned that his tweets would affect his relationship with his players, most of whom are black, adding that he “didn’t think the race had anything to do with this incident.” had to do” on January 6th.
“I’m going to be the man I am,” Del Rio said. “I work here as a coach with nothing but love and respect for everyone I work with. …if they are [upset] and they want to talk about it, i would talk to anyone about it, no problem, anytime.
“But they aren’t. I’m just expressing myself, and I think we all as Americans have the right to express ourselves, especially if you’re respectful. I’m respectful.”
Del Rio’s comment drew criticism from Virginia State Senator Scott Surovell, who represents the district where the team recently bought land in hopes of building a stadium. Late last month, the Virginia General Assembly delayed a vote on a new stadium. A vote could take place later this summer, although it’s considered unlikely.
Surovell tweeted Wednesday afternoon, “The likely indifference and tolerance in the @NFL to Jack Del Rio’s indifference to riots underscores the league’s hypocrisy in blackballing @Kaepernick7 and also makes me realize we won’t see stadium bills votes another year.”
When he was head coach of the Raiders in 2017, Del Rio defended Marshawn Lynch when Trump criticized the returning star for sitting during the US national anthem but standing during the Mexican anthem before a game in Mexico City.
Del Rio said at the time that “everyone should show respect to the flag…but it’s America and everyone has their choice.” His wife Linda then tweeted that she regrets voting for Trump in 2016.
The Commanders have had a turbulent off-season, at least when it comes to non-football matters. Congress continues to scrutinize the organization and owner Dan Snyder specifically on workplace culture; A hearing is scheduled for June 22nd.
Congress also sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission saying the organization had committed financial irregularities. The team denied those claims in a separate 105-page letter to the FTC.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.