Jack Del Rio should have known to steer clear of “distractions”

OTA for the Washington Commanders
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Distractions.

It’s the quick, easy term uttered by football coaches who don’t want to deal with players who aren’t deemed to be good enough to justify tolerating other issues that they bring with them to the team. Sometimes, it’s a legitimate excuse for passing on one player and signing another one. Sometimes, it’s a pretext for not signing a player that the coach simply doesn’t want on the team.

Regardless, football coaches don’t want distractions. They know what distractions can do. In the locker room. In the meeting rooms. During press conferences, when players are asking about issues related to their teammates. Anywhere, and everywhere.

Some would say that the aversion to distractions is overstated, given that playing football entails dealing with distractions on every snap. The player, who has an assignment for the play, is physically and mentally distracted by the fact that the player across from him has a dramatically different assignment.

Regardless, football coaches hate distractions. And Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio has been a football coach since 1997, rising from the position of assistant strength coach with the Saints to linebackers coach with the Saints and Ravens to defensive coordinator for the Panthers to head coach of the Jaguars to defensive coordinator of the Broncos to head coach of the Raiders to defensive coordinator of the Commanders.

The NFL likes to say (even if the actions defy the words) that non-players are held to a higher standard than players. When it comes to avoiding the distractions that coaches claim to despise, coaches should definitely be held to a higher standard. And yet Del Rio, under the guise of expressing opinions on Twitter and elsewhere, created what became a major distraction.

Whatever the views he espoused, he created a distraction for the football team. That alone justifies raising the question as to whether the relationship between Del Rio and the Commanders should continue.

As mentioned on Sunday, I don’t like the idea of fining Del Rio for expressing his views. However, I can get behind the notion of concluding that the relationship shouldn’t continue simply because Del Rio created a major distraction for an organization that has had far too many of them in recent years.

If we accept as truthful that the effort by coaches to minimize distractions is truly about the issue of distractions and not simply an excuse for giving the cold shoulder to a player the coach simply doesn’t want on the team, a two-time former head coach should know better than anyone that he should be trying to avoid creating any and all distractions for his current team.

20 responses to “Jack Del Rio should have known to steer clear of “distractions”

  1. What distraction? If players can squat and defile this country during the playing of the national anthem then he has every right (according to the squatters) to express his opinion. And since no one was penalized for squatting, he should not be fined and should take the team to court so as to expose the stupidity and one-sided nature of protests being condoned or condemned.

  2. It’s the Commanders. There’s always distractions. If anything Snyder is probably glad that the attention is off of him for a minute.

  3. It’s pretty simple: coaches should just stay off twitter — not worth the hassle.

  4. Yes he was wrong for saying it but after a week or so the media still won’t let go and sometimes there at fault too. Time to move on

  5. An apology was sufficient, to pile on and fine the guy 100 grand for that comment is ridiculous. I do agree though that Del Rio should’ve known better to just steer clear of anything political on company time.

  6. This will be tough for Jack. He does not realize that he was wrong. His “opinion” comes from a faux reality from a party trying to down play a takeover of democracy. He is essentially a brain washed parrot talking politics

  7. I agree that he shouldn’t have been fined. But to fire him – in this and similar contemporary situations, to cancel him with a career ruining stigma – is not only wrong, it’s exponentially worse.

  8. Considering the team’s stadium issues, and the political make-up of the DC Council, and the predictable media fire stoking, he should have made a better business decision and shut his mouth. The team has the right to hold him accountable for what may have contributed to an adverse outcome for the team and the RFK grounds.

  9. He has everything to lose by opening his mouth and almost nothing to gain. The smart thing to do would be to steer clear of any controversy and just do your job.

  10. He didn’t apologize until he was fined and twice stood by his comments beforehand. I think the fine is largely symbolic since it’s being donated to the memorial of the riot at the Capitol. It also is more of a meaningful admission of wrongdoing rather than a fake apology. I mean, if he eventually just apologized who would believe him? Also, he could have just resigned and not accepted the fine. He accepted the fine as punishment and the price to retain his job.

  11. Out of curiosity; the commission is a hand picked and a one-sided affair. If it’s so clear that it was an insurrection, why muzzle opposition? Why not let them bury themselves? All this does is prove the one side isn’t interested in gaining perspective. Thus negating any true due process. It’s a bad look, but in this state of the world, whatever distracts us from reality is better than focusing on the real issues. Or so they’re showing us anyway.

  12. It’s understandable. The loudest opinions come from the least-informed.

  13. Del Rio’s free to publicly state his ignorant opinions on the January 6th insurrection. However, the 1st Amendment doesn’t preclude Washington from subsequently (legally) terminating him for conduct detrimental to the team for publicly offering up said opinions.

  14. It would be unfair to punish Del Rio for other distractions. IMO the team should have simply told him internally to get off Twitter but not fined him. That’s a bad look all around. Now Ron Rivera fining JDR is an additional “distraction”.

  15. I see the anti Kaepernik crowd is out in force sticking up for one of their own. I hope the defensive players dusts him up in their first meeting

  16. Out of curiosity; the commission is a hand picked and a one-sided affair. If it’s so clear that it was an insurrection, why muzzle opposition? Why not let them bury themselves? All this does is prove the one side isn’t interested in gaining perspective. Thus negating any true due process. It’s a bad look, but in this state of the world, whatever distracts us from reality is better than focusing on the real issues. Or so they’re showing us anyway.
    ______________________________________________________________
    The “opposition” had every opportunity to be a part of the commission but want to continue being puppets for the “Big Lie”. I like that they are being exposed for the incompetent parrots that is currently ruling their party. JDR should have known better and please stop comparing him to Kaep who peacefully protested in a manner that was directed by an Armed Forces veteran who told him that taking a knee was a sign of respect compared to sitting down. Education is the key….

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