‘I Would Want To Pick His Brain’| Washington Commanders’ Jonathan Allen Gets Dragged For His Dead or Alive Dinner Guest Picks

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Washington Commanders star defensive lineman Jonathan Allen tweeted on Wednesday that he would like to have dinner with his “grandad, Hitler, and Michael Jackson.” Allen was doing an “Ask Me Anything” thread and was asked who are the three people living or dead he would have dinner with. His grandfather and Michael Jackson are easy enough to explain, but Hitler is extremely problematic. Allen had to backtrack and took down the tweet.

“He’s a military genius and I love military tactics but honestly I would want to pick his brain as to why he did what he did. I’m also assuming that the people I’ve chosen have to answer all my questions honestly.”

Allen faced immediate backlash over including Hitler, and had to apologize.

This is the danger you face as a public figure in the social media era if you choose to participate in an AMA.

Allen likely isn’t alone in wanting to understand why Hitler committed the atrocities he did. The fact that he wanted to “pick his brain as to why” suggests he would like to go deeper than genocide and racism.

There are countless documentaries that details Hitler’s actions.

But if you’re Allen you have to know certain figures in a public forum like Twitter are radioactive. Hitler being atop that list. No matter how you try and explain the why, it’s a lost cause. Despite the idea that it’s an AMA, Twitter and social media in general, are not the platforms for nuance or context.

The good news for Allen is this happened during Super Bowl and NBA trade deadline week. There is so much going on in sports, this likely won’t register in a major way for him.

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Allen also responded to a fan who said his comments were hurtful … writing in a tweet to the person, “I’m sorry I offended you that definitely was not my attention, I was just answering a question.”

This is a bit of a double-edged sword for athletes. Fans say they want athletes to be authentic and honest, Allen got on social media to engage with fans and this was the result. A reasonable question was asked, and he gave an honest answer.

Would it have been better if he responded with his granddad, Gandhi and Mother Teresa? It certainly wouldn’t have caused any backlash. But would it have been honest?

This isn’t to condone Hitler or the idea of wanting to have dinner with him. But perhaps there needs to be some middle ground between honesty and performative public social media outrage.

Allen was drafted by Washington in 2017 and earned his first Pro Bowl selection this past season.


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