The Washington Commanders three-day mandatory minicamp got underway on Tuesday. While practice is widely said to have gone swimmingly, players and coaches were forced to answer tough questions to the media afterwards.
With one of the faces of the franchise, Terry McLaurin, unexpected to attend and thereby subject to over $90,000 in fines, and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio making national headlines after discussing his polarizing political views on Twitter and after the final practice of OTAs, that was always going to be the case.
Despite facing severe backlash and being the face of controversy yet again, the Commanders handled themselves well on Tuesday. Several players and coaches addressed the media so there was a lot to digest, but we’ve managed to highlight three of the biggest takeaways from the post-practice presser.
3 biggest takeaways from Commanders media day
3. Jonathan Allen Downplays Distraction Narrative
Allen was one of the first Commanders players to speak in the wake of Del Rio’s insensitive comments about the attack on the Capitol and comparing it to the murder of George Floyd that sparked civil protests against racial injustice.
Allen made light of it then and he doubled down following Tuesday’s practice, saying “Everybody makes mistakes and he (Del Rio) owned up to it.” When asked if his teammates might take issue playing for Del Rio, Allen could only speak for himself, but made a telling remark about how he navigates politics and work.
“I like to separate my political life and my work life. Yes, we’re a family, yes we’re brothers, but at the end of the day, this is a job and you can’t forget that. You cannot forget that. No matter your political view, we get paid to do a job. You don’t get paid to share political views.
“Now, I’m not saying we can’t use our platform to express our political views, but at the end of the day I get paid to play football, dominate double teams and sack the quarterback. And that’s what I’m going to do.”
That’s a strong response from the Commanders’ captain, and he continued delivering the goods in answering a seemingly evergreen question in terms of whether all of the team’s non-football distractions can get overwhelming.
“You’re not on the field with us playing football, you’re not playing double teams, you’re not out here busting your ass with me everyday,” Allen said of the outside noise. “I could (n’t) care less what people think on Twitter, because Twitter’s not a real space. It’s a space people hide behind the keyboards and say whatever they want to say.”
” . . . Anybody outside this team is so unimportant to me. It means nothing what you say to me or what the media says to me.”
Sounds like Allen just wants to focus on football. Can’t say we blame him, but outsiders’ opinions clearly don’t bother the star DT.