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Washington Commanders defensive coordinator calls Jan. 6 riot a 'dust-up'

Washington Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio is seen during an NFL football OTA practice at Inova Sports Performance Center in Ashburn, Va., on Wednesday.
Luis M. Alvarez
/
AP
Washington Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio is seen during an NFL football OTA practice at Inova Sports Performance Center in Ashburn, Va., on Wednesday.

Jack Del Rio, defensive coordinator for the Washington Commanders, has apologized after referring to the the Capitol insurrection as a "dust-up."

After an offseason practice Wednesday, Del Rio compared Black Lives Matter protests to the attack on the Capitol.

"I see the images on TV. People's livelihoods are being destroyed, businesses are being burned down — no problem," Del Rio told reporters. "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 issued an apology Wednesday afternoon for calling the attack on the Capitol a "dust-up."

"Referencing that situation as a dust-up was irresponsible and negligent and I am sorry. I stand by my comments condemning violence in communities across the country," the statement reads. "I say that while also expressing my support as an American citizen for peaceful protest in our country."

Del Rio also said in the statement that he respects the opinions of the coaches, players and staff that he works with.

Earlier this week, Del Rio compared the insurrection to Black Lives Matter protests in a reply to a tweet about a guide to Jan. 6 hearings, which begin Thursday night.

"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's tweet read.

Video of the news conference circulated widely on social media. Some users said Del Rio should be fired and others have stood behind him.

In a statement, NAACP President Derrick Johnson said it was time for Del Rio "to resign or be terminated."

"Downplaying the insurrection by comparing it to nationwide protests, which were in response to a public lynching, is twisted," Johnson wrote. "You can't coach a majority Black team while turning your back on the Black community. It's time for you to pack up and step off the field."

Jonathan Allen, Commanders defensive tackle and team captain, told NBC4 Sports Washington that he doesn't care about Del Rio's opinion.

"I don't care about his opinion. As long as he shows up every day and he works hard, that's what I want from my defensive coordinator," Allen said.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Rina Torchinsky