‘He’s My Guy’: What’s Chase Young Think of Commanders Coach Jack Del Rio?
Del Rio apologized for calling what happened on January 6 at the Capitol building in Washington D.C. a “dust-up.”
Everyone gets to have an opinion on Washington defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, so much under fire that some of his critics are calling for his firing.
But that doesn’t mean everyone’s opinion matters.
ESPN’s notes that defensive star and team leader Chase Young’s view of Del Rio is – pending Young this week at minicamp saying otherwise – “He’s my guy.” That’s a powerful and important fact that belies the assumption that Del Rio’s controversial views (for which he has apologized) will fracture the locker room.
What if the Washington Commanders assistant has not just the support of his bosses (along with a scolding and a fine) but also from players in his locker room? What if the overriding view is that of D-line star Jonathan Allen, who told NBC Sports Washington, “I don’t care about his opinion as long as he shows up every day and works hard. That’s what I want from my defensive coordinator.”
Del Rio apologized for calling what happened on January 6 at the Capitol building in Washington D.C. a “dust-up” while answering questions from media members following Wednesday’s OTA practice session.
On Thursday and then Friday, in addition to Del Rio issuing an apology, he was fined by head coach Ron Rivera.
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“I met with Coach Del Rio to express how disappointed I am in his comments on Wednesday,” Rivera’s statement reads. “His comments do not reflect the organization’s views and are extremely hurtful to our great community here in the DMV … He does have the right to voice his opinion as a citizen of the United States … However, words have consequences and his words hurt a lot of people in our community.”
Rivera’s statement included the note that the Washington Commanders‘ fine of Del Rio will be donated to the United States Capitol Police Memorial Fund.
Is that enough?
The NAACP is calling for Del Rio’s job, the organization’s president, Derrick Johnson, terming Del Rio’s view “twisted,” and adding, “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.”
From former Seahawks star Doug Baldwin: “Jack Del Rio is an ignorant, ignorant man. And that is as loving and respectful as I can put it. Protesting against the murder of someone is not the same as attempting a coup because you didn’t get your way in an election. Not saying vandalism is ok but let’s not try to pretend these are the same.”
From Brian Mitchell, the former Washington standout: “You got all these issues going on with the Washington Commanders right now, and [Del Rio’s] constantly trying to make waves because of stupidity. And you wonder why that team wasn’t disciplined last year, because your damn leader that’s leading your defense is not disciplined.”
Mitchell, Baldwin and the NAACP may have a point. But Mitchell, Baldwin and the NAACP are not in the Washington locker room and don’t represent the Washington locker room. Chase Young is a leader among those who are. And as they await a meeting with Del Rio, who is reportedly set to address the team on Tuesday, maybe we should make sure to count their opinions as valued as well.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.