Commanders face scrutiny over reference to player shooting


BALTIMORE, MD – AUGUST 27: Brian Robinson #8 of the Washington Commanders warms up before the preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on August 27, 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

(NewsNation) — The Washington Commanders issued a statement apologizing for a previous statement Wednesday night after responding to news of potential new legal troubles by invoking the recent shooting of one of their players.

Washington D.C. District Attorney Karl A. Racine said Wednesday that he was planning to make a “major announcement” about the Washington Commanders football team Thursday, as an investigation into the organization and owner Dan Snyder continues.

The announcement by Racine did not go over well with the organization, which released a scathing statement in response, which included a reference to the August shooting of running back Brian Robinson.

“Less than three months ago, a 23-year-old player on our team was shot multiple times in broad daylight. Despite the out-of-control violent crimes in DC, today the Washington Commanders learned for the first time on Twitter that the D.C. Attorney General will be holding a press conference to ‘make a major announcement’ related to the organization tomorrow,” the statement began.

“The Commanders have fully cooperated with the AG’s investigation for nearly a year. As recently as Monday, a lawyer for the team met with the AG who did not suggest at that time that he intended to take any action and, in fact, revealed fundamental misunderstandings of the underlying facts. It is unfortunate that, in his final days in office, Mr. Racine appears more interested in making splashy headlines, based on offbeat legal theories, rather than doing the hard work of making the streets safe for our citizens, including bringing to justice the people who shot one of our players,” the statement continued.

Robinson’s agent did not take kindly to Washington using the shooting in its statement.

“Up until an hour ago, the Commanders handled the Brian Robinson situation with so much care, sincerity and class,” Robinson’s agent Ryan Williams said on Twitter. “And I was so grateful for all of it. Although I know that there are some great humans in that building, whoever is hiding behind this statement is not one of them.”

Commanders President Jason Wright released a follow-up to the Commanders’ original statement, saying it came from the team’s attorney and should not have been public.

“I just spoke with [D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee], conveying how much we support MPD, as well as public safety leaders and elected officials working to reduce gun violence and crime across the region. The earlier statement expressed our external counsel’s ongoing frustration with the Attorney General’s office as they have been nothing but earnest and transparent in their communications with his team. The lawyer’s legitimate frustrations with the AG should have been separate and apart from referencing the terrible crime that affected our player,” Wright’s statement said.

The Commanders and embattled owner Dan Snyder have been under a litany of investigations that include a probe into sexual misconduct and harassment taking place within the organization.

After a report came out that other NFL owners wanted Snyder to sell the team, Snyder reportedly told confidants that he had “dirt” on other owners and they could not “(expletive) with him.”

The Commanders denied the contents of the report. In a statement, a team spokesperson and lawyers called it “categorically untrue” and “clearly part of a well-funded, two-year campaign to coerce the sale of the team, which will continue to be unsuccessful.”

Last week, the Commanders announced Snyder had hired a bank to help sell all or part of the team.

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