As Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio stepped in for his Monday press conference, he knew just what was coming. He had been briefed just prior which is where he learned of Donald Trump’s twitter attack on Marshawn Lynch, calling for the NFL to suspend the running back for sitting for the National Anthem.
He also learned of his wife’s response to Trump’s tweet in which she first told him in a reply to “Take more time being president of the United States and less time trying to shame.”
Then she went even farther, saying she regretted voting for Trump altogether.
So, before a question was even asked, Jack addressed the elephant waiting in the room for him.
“Ok, here to recap the game, talk about my wife’s tweet, whatever else...” Del Rio said, prompting great laughter from the media present.
With the tension broken, the first question was about Del Rio waking to the president tweeting about one of his players and his wife’s feelings on the matter.
“I have to admit I wasn’t aware of it until about five minutes ago, thanks to [Raiders Head of Media Relations] Will [Kiss],” said Del Rio. “We’ve been busy going through the tape, correcting yesterday and getting ready to move on to the Broncos. And so I’m not...I mean I didn’t spend a lot of time looking at the material. I’m aware of a tweet and then my wife being offended because I think she thinks there’s so many things that go on that are good about the league and she’d like to see that get more attention. I think that’s really what she was saying. But I can’t speak for her.”
As for his thoughts on Marshawn sitting for the anthem, he reiterated the stance he has had since the beginning.
“Bottom line is I’m here to coach a football team,” Del Rio continued. “That’s my job, that’s my role and that’s what I’m gonna do. But I’m aware of all those things and my stance on the whole thing with Marshawn and all of our players, I’ve told them how I feel. I love this country, I think it’s a great honor to be able to play football, coach football for a living, and so my thought is that everybody should pay respect to the flag and stand at attention and that’s how I feel about it. But it is America and everybody can make their choice and I’ve made that clear too. So, anyway that’s that. I don’t know if there’s anything else to talk about on that subject, but I’d rather concentrate on football. But I wanted to go ahead and address that up front.”
As to whether he agrees with the idea that Marshawn should be suspended for kneeling, he said, while smiling and shaking his head, presumably at the ridiculous notion; “I’m not going to get into all that. That’s not for me.”
It need not be addressed, Jack. It’s ludicrous to suggest a player should be suspended for a silent peaceful protest. And even beyond ludicrous and shameful that the president feels like it’s appropriate to call for it.