If there’s drama in the NFL, the Washington Commanders are usually somewhere near the smoke. From allegations against owner Dan Snyder for cultivating a hostile workplace environment — which includes sexual harassment and abuse allegations. To defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, blowing off the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, as nothing more than a “dust up.”
“I can look at the 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 burnt down, and we’re going to make a major deal,” Del Rio said, using a regrettable choice of words that eventually led to his ousting.
For Del Rio to say what transpired at the Capitol is no big deal, shows how insensitive he and many others like him are towards the embarrassing situation.
JDR was fined by Commanders head coach Ron Rivera, but was that enough? The NAACP wanted his job.
Per reports, players have moved on and are focused on playing football. Whatever course of discipline handed down by Ron Rivera seems to not be effecting the team in any way. While some players may not agree with it, they aren’t going to fester over it or let it affect their play. Team insider John Keim spoke on the matter on the “Inside The Huddle” podcast.
“I will say there are definitely some players who didn’t like it. But the question was, does it impact anything? So, I talked to multiple people, you know, connected to players, whether it’s agents, managers, friends, not anybody even hesitated saying it’s not an issue.”
“Even if they felt like some players didn’t like it, or would have had a problem with it, they didn’t think it would affect the locker room.”
“I also think some of that is because Chase Young gets along with Del Rio really well. In fact, if I talk to somebody close to him, he’s like, oh Jack is God.”
Commanders coach Ron Rivera explains DC Jack Del Rio's $100K fine: "This is about the impact that was made on our football team, the distraction it has become"https://t.co/vaQdRGzjCe pic.twitter.com/B2ABbQgSdw
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) June 14, 2022
Hopefully, team brass didn’t believe it wouldn’t be some sort of tension after such reckless comments by someone they’re required to respect and listen to daily. Del Rio’s relationship with Chase Young, the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NFL draft, seems to be a big win in his favor. As Young is a respected young player, the fact that he still supports JDR is probably a good sign that others do as well.
Keim Believes Someone Like Malcolm Jenkins Could’ve Help Soften The Blow
Keim also mentioned that he believes someone like retired safety Malcolm Jenkins, one of the NFL’s all-time player mediators and negotiators, could’ve helped the locker room’s temperature after those comments.
— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) June 10, 2022
“I think if you had someone like Malcolm Jenkins, then you’re looking at a different veteran who has the respect of the locker room. Use his voice to maybe say something, and then it’s like, wait a minute here. They don’t necessarily have that guy on this defense.”
While they may not have someone of Jenkins’ stature, the leader of the defense is star defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, who’s fresh off his first Pro Bowl season.
Allen spoke about the incident, and his focus was supporting Del Rio as the defensive coordinator of the team, nothing more and nothing less.
Commanders Are About Playing Football
Allen’s teammate DaRon Payne was asked if the comments bothered him. The former Alabama Crimson Tide star said he was unbothered by the incident, adding, “No, man, I play football.”
Based on Keim’s report, Allen and Payne’s sentiments seem to resonate with the squad. While the players might not totally agree with the punishment, their main focus is football and getting it done on the gridiron under JDR’s guidance and leadership. As of now it looks as if his job is safe and Rivera feels he handled it right. The best way to quiet the detractors is to win on the field, something the Commanders hope to do a lot of in 2022.