NFL Coach Apologizes After Attempting To Redefine Jan. 6 With Whataboutism

A coach for the Washington Commanders apologized on Wednesday after referring to the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol that left five people dead as a “dust-up.”

Jack Del Rio, the defensive coordinator for the D.C. football team, made the comment while discussing the attack during a press conference on Wednesday. His remarks followed a tweet he posted in response to someone who had urged people to understand “the whole story” of the attack ahead of the Jan. 6 hearings on Thursday:

Twitter user Miles Grant tried to explain:

“Uhh yeah sure 🤥,” Del Rio said in a response.

During the press conference, Del Rio reiterated his concern about discussions of the Black Lives Matter protests by comparing it to discussions of the Jan. 6 insurrection.

“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 dustup 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.”

In a statement released later on Wednesday, Del Rio apologized for how he phrased his opinions.

“Referencing the situation as a dust-up was irresponsible and negligent and I am sorry,” he wrote. “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.”

Sports journalist Kimberley A. Martin responded on Twitter to Del Rio’s claim he had “fully supported all peaceful protests” by sharing a link to a CBS Sports article that said the coach did not want his players to protest during the national anthem in 2016.

Del Rio, who previously coached for the Oakland Raiders, did defend Marshawn Lynch after then-President Donald Trump tweeted a complaint about the player’s national anthem protests in 2017, The Mercury News reported. In a response to Trump’s tweet, Del Rio’s wife Linda, said she had voted for the president and regretted the decision.

Del Rio’s tweets have sparked criticism in the past, including remarks he made about a noose that was found by NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, who is Black, and an attack on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), The Washington Post reported.

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