The NFL is constantly deemed the least progressive among the sports leagues, and a coach’s recent comments aren’t helping.
Jack Del Rio, a former linebacker who now runs the Washington Commander’s defense, made some disparaging remarks when comparing Black Lives Matter protests to the January 6 riots at the US Capitol. On Twitter, he questioned why the BLM protests of summer 2020 were not as heavily scrutinized as the riots. But then, he doubled down when addressing a pool of reporters after an offseason practice Wednesday.
“Why are we not looking into those things — if we’re going to talk about it — why are we not looking into those things?” Del Rio said at the podium after being asked about the criticism of his tweets. “I can look at images on the TV, people’s livelihoods are being destroyed, businesses are being burned down, no problem. 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.”
Del Rio immediately caught flack for not only downplaying the deadly attack on the Capital but for villanizing the BLM marches protesting the murder of George Floyd. Seeing the backlash, he took to Twitter to apologize for his reckless words.
“I made comments earlier today in referencing the attack that took place on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021. Referencing that situation as a dust-up was irresponsible and negligent, and I am sorry,” Del Rio wrote on Twitter. “I stand by my comments condemning violence in communities across the country. I say that while also expressing my support as an American citizen for peaceful protest in our country. I have fully supported all peaceful protests in America. I love, respect, and support all my fellow coaches, players, and staff that I work with and respect their views and opinions.”
Del Rio’s remarks reverberated across the team as Virginia lawmakers have since abandoned the idea of adopting the team and relocating it to the now defunct RFK stadium.