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Jack Del Rio’s father, high school teammates, and players help shed light on controversial comments

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Jack Del Rio’s father paused during a recent phone interview.

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“You caught me in an emotional moment,” Jack Del Rio Sr. told USA TODAY Sports.

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He gasped as he spoke of the diverse group of athletes he says he coached in junior sports decades ago in Northern California.

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“I didn’t care if they were black, Puerto Rican, whatever they were,” said Del Rio Sr., 85, whose four sons are white. “I loved those boys.”

The discussion later returned to his eldest son, Jack Del Rio Jr., a longtime NFL coach who made comments this month that prompted NAACP President Derrick Johnson Says Del Rio Should Resign or Be Fired as defense coordinator for Washington Command.

FALL OUT: Del Rio’s ‘nail in the coffin’ comments on Commanders Stadium bill

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Anger spread across the country, in fact, after Del Rio called the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 a “torture”.‘, comparing the violence during this uprising to the violence during the riots during the mostly peaceful protests following the killing of George Floyd.

“What he said was true,” Del Rio’s father said of the controversial remarks. “He didn’t say anything bad.

“I hear stories about people opposing him and all that. I do not understand this. He’s just a good person.

“It’s been a difficult time because our great nation, I don’t know what the hell is going on.”

Washington Commands defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio watches a game against the New York Giants on September 16, 2021.
Washington Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio watches a game against the New York Giants on September 16, 2021.

The man who raised Del Rio Jr., 59, shared a fresh perspective on the comments that prompted Commanders to fine Del Rio $100,000 as a result, he issued a public apology. This was not the first controversy involving Del Rio since the commanders hired him in January 2020.

In June 2020, Del Rio retweeted a tweet saying that Bubba Wallace, NASCAR’s only black driver, “rigged” a noose found in Wallace’s garage at Talladega Superspeedway.

“Really, dude, WTF?” Del Rio tweeted.

At the time, a spokesman for Washington stated that the team would not comment on Del Rio’s tweets.

The FBI said Wallace cooperated with an investigation that found no federal crime. The rope, made in the form of a loop, was in the garage a few months before Wallace came to the track. The FBI said.

When Del Rio came under fire after Wallace’s retweet, with a Twitter user lamenting that Del Rio came out in support of then-President Donald Trump, the coach tweeted, “I’m 100% America, if not, you can kiss my $$.”

He also retweeted a fake photo attributed to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It falsely suggested that the New York congresswoman said the extended lockdown during COVID-19 was worth the cost because it would prevent Trump from winning a second term.

Del Rio did not respond to requests for comment made late Monday through director of football communications Sean DeBarbieri, email, text and voice messages to the phone number listed in Del Rio’s name.

Del Rio’s story helps explain how the comments affected men like John Bedford, who is black and played high school basketball with Del Rio, a tri-sport star in Hayward, California.

“At first it was shocking,” Bedford said, and traced his reaction back to more than 40 years ago.

According to Bedford, during his time at Hayward High School, Del Rio got behind the wheel of his El Camino. Before he left school, according to Bedford and two other former Del Rio teammates, they squeezed into the cab of a Chevrolet coupe truck.

One of the teammates, like Del Rio, was white. The other three were black.

“We turned him into soul music,” Bedford said. “Before we knew it, we had all kinds of music. Rap and soul, AC/DC, Van Halen and Journey.

“Jack hung out with a lot of black guys. Basketball players, soccer players, as if we were all friends.

“When we played baseball in high school and all, some[white students]used the n-word quite a lot. But I never heard Jack say that.”

Bedford said he had not spoken to Del Rio since the early 1980s, but added, “I still care about him as a friend.”

Ronald Moss, another former high school teammate of Del Rio’s, said he hadn’t spoken to Del Rio for decades but was surprised by comments about the January 6 attack – until he learned that Del Rio had publicly expressed support for the former president. Donald Trump.

“Oh, is he a Trump supporter?” said Moss, the black man. “Well, that speaks for itself. But Jack as a person was a very good guy.”

OPINION: No, Jack Del Rio, there was no “crazy” on January 6th. It was a violent act of treason

Then there were memories of Jack Del Rio, Sr., who ran a construction business and built a powerful team of winning youth sports teams that included his own sons and athletes of color.

“He stood up for us black boys when it was a white people’s world and he respected us as athletes,” said Moss, whose brother Wendell said Del Rio Sr. once intervened when two white men threatened three black high school basketball players. physical violence. knife near the restaurant.

Bedford added: “Jack’s father used to invite us all to spend weekends and sleepovers and he became our second father.”

Jack Del Rio Sr. (center) coached his son (far left) and other athletes of all backgrounds during his tenure as a youth coach in California.
Jack Del Rio Sr. (center) coached his son (far left) and other athletes of all backgrounds during his tenure as a youth coach in California.

Alphonso Davis said he was among the black teammates who slept at Del Rio’s house and are now taken aback by Del Rio’s conflicting remarks.

“I was more like, ‘Dude, Jack shouldn’t have even commented on this if he feels that way,'” said Davis, who said he hadn’t spoken to Del Rio in 35 years. “I thought, ‘Why?’

There are other clues and controversies in Del Rio’s journey from a tri-sport star at Hayward to an All-American linebacker in Southern California, to an 11-year-old NFL pro, and finally to he apologized on June 9.

“Referring to this situation as a dump was irresponsible and careless, and I am sorry,” Del Rio tweeted.. “I stand by my comments condemning violence in communities across the country. I say this and also express my support for peaceful protest in our country as a US citizen.”

Jack Del Rio, the great leader, had a quarrel

The story casts doubt on Del Rio’s commitment to peaceful protest.

During the 1987 NFL strike, Del Rio was playing for the Kansas City Chiefs and had a falling out with Otis Taylor, a former All-Pro Chiefs wide receiver who was working as a scout for the team.

Taylor walked out of Arrowhead Stadium that September day with a tryout. Del Rio, one of the picketers, was waiting outside.

According to the Kansas City StarDel Rio called Taylor and the new player a “dirty scab” and “scum” and then knocked Taylor to the ground before the two men exchanged punches.

A photograph of the incident shows Del Rio, then aged 24, lying on top of Taylor, who was 45 at the time.

Randy Kovitz, former Kansas City Star writer recently tweeted“I was inches away from a melee between Del Rio and Taylor. When the two recoiled and Del Rio heard the peacekeepers yelling, “Otis,” Del Rio stopped punching and asked, “Otis? Otis Taylor? I enjoyed watching you as a player.” End of the fight.”

But not the end of the matter.

Taylor, a black man who reportedly had a bloody lip, filed for criminal charges; Del Rio filed an assault complaint; but prosecutors did not press charges due to “insufficient evidence,” according to the Kansas City Star.

The Star also reported that Taylor filed a $1 million lawsuit against Del Rio, the NFL Players Association and player representative Nick Lowry and that the matter was settled out of court two years later.

“I put the past behind me,” said Taylor’s wife, Regina, who added that her husband has Parkinson’s disease and has been unable to communicate for several years.

In 2017, Phil Barber of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported that Del Rio was adamant when Barber asked if he would have acted differently during the strike.

“No,” Del Rio said. “Not.”

That same year, Del Rio was an NFL veteran coach, and in his third and final season as head coach of the Oakland Raiders. His defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. was black, as were about half of his positional coaches. Like his player, Marquette King, who played for Del Rio for three seasons, from 2015 to 2017.

“I thought he was an amazing person,” King said. “I enjoyed training with him. It never gave me any strange vibes. It’s hard for me to say something negative because my experience with him has always been positive and very funny. All was good. We had a very good relationship.”

Jack Del Rio and the scandal at the Capitol

On June 6, Del Rio responded with a tweet about the upcoming rumors of a January 6 attack on the Capitol. He wrote: “I would like to understand the ‘whole story’ about why the summer riots, robberies, arson and destruction of personal property are never talked about, is it ??? #Common sense”.

A reporter asked Del Rio about the tweet two days later during a press conference at the Commanders’ Mini Camp.

“I can really look at it, I can look at images on TV, people’s livelihoods are being destroyed, businesses are being burned, no problem,” Del Rio said. “And then we have a fight in the Capitol, nothing burned down, and we’re going to make a big deal out of it. I just think it’s kind of two standards, and if…


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