Washington Commanders coach Jack Del Rio on Wednesday publicly defended a tweet in which he compared the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack to the nationwide protests against police brutality that took place in 2020 following George Floyd’s murder, referring to the insurrection as a “dust up.”

Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, Del Rio was asked by a reporter about the tweet, which he posted days earlier in response to Brookings Institution senior fellow Norm Eisen sharing a story he had written about the hearings being held by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.

“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 ???” Del Rio wrote in the tweet. “#CommonSense.” 

“I’m just expressing myself, and I think we all as Americans have the right to express ourselves, especially if you’re being respectful. I’m being respectful,” Del Rio, who is entering his third season as the Commanders’ defensive coordinator, told the media. “I just asked a simple question. Let’s get right down to it. What did I ask? A simple question. Why are we not looking into things, if we’re going to talk about it. Why are we not looking into those things?” 

“It’s kind of hard for me to say, I can realistically look at it. I see images on the TV, people’s livelihoods are being destroyed, businesses are being burned down, no problem,” the 59-year-old coach continued. “And then we have a dust up at the Capitol, nothing burned down, and we’re going to make that a major deal.”

Del Rio, who previously was the head coach for then-Oakland (now Las Vegas) Raiders and the Jacksonville Jaguars, added that he wants to have an open discussion with his team on the matter, adding that he’s “not afraid” to speak up. 

Del Rio has been very public about his conservative beliefs on social media in the past few years. 

“Like I said, every which way I can, when I’m here, it’s about love and respect,” Del Rio said. “ 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.” 

In a statement later Wednesday, Del Rio apologized for his remarks at the press conference, saying that referring to the insurrection as a “dust-up” was “irresponsible” and “negligent.” 

Del Rio added in his statement that he fully supports peaceful protests in the U.S.

The coach’s remarks came as the select committee investigating Jan. 6 announced last week that it will hold its first hearing in the prime-time slot Thursday.

The Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, where pro-Trump supporters stormed the building in an effort to stop Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 election, resulted in the deaths of five people. 

Del Rio’s remarks on his tweet drew strong reactions on social media, with former NFL players Torrey Smith and Doug Baldwin Jr. chiming in on the matter. 

“Calling it a ‘dust up’ is ignorant as hell but everyone in entitled to their own opinion,” Smith wrote in a tweet. “Even if it’s stupid”. 

Speaking to NBC Sports Washington reporter J.P. Finlay, Commanders defensive end Jonathan Allen, who faced backlash for his own tweet earlier this year, said that everyone is entitled to their opinion, adding that he wants Del Rio to “show up” and “work hard” as his defensive coordinator. 

“Some guys don’t, doesn’t make one person better than the other,” Allen said. “And at the end of the day, you can have a difference in opinion and still respect one another.”

Updated at 5:57 p.m.

Tags George Floyd Jack Del Rio Jack Del Rio Jan 6 Capitol riot Jan 6 house commitee Jan. 6 Capitol riot Jan. 6 Committee Jan. 6 House committee NFL norm eisen Washington Commanders Washington Commanders Washington D.C.
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