Hours after Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine said he would make a “major announcement” about the Commanders, the franchise issued a scathing response that was roundly criticized on social media.
The team’s statement referenced the August shooting of rookie running back Brian Robinson Jr. and accused Racine of paying more attention to the Commanders than to crime in D.C.
MORE: How Brian Robinson Jr. made miracle return to field after shooting
“Less than three months ago, a 23-year-old player on our team was shot multiple times in broad daylight,” the Commanders said, adding that the franchise learned Wednesday on Twitter that Racine would be making an announcement “despite out-of-control violent crime in DC.”
From a Commanders spokesperson regarding the DC AG press conference Tomorrow: pic.twitter.com/TIMVfbUYtp
— John Keim (@john_keim) November 9, 2022
The Commanders — who are controlled by embattled owner Dan Snyder — called it “unfortunate” that Racine would make an announcement about the team “rather than doing the hard work of making the streets safe for our citizens, including bringing justice to the people who shot one of our players.”
Washington, D.C., police arrested a teenager last week in connection with Robinson’s shooting.
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Criticism of the Commanders’ statement swiftly poured in:
What an absolutely disgraceful response by the @Commanders organization.
To bring the shooting of RB Brian Robinson in this to try and deflect attention from the issue is beyond cowardly.
Shameful behavior. https://t.co/xZD9Lidcjk
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) November 9, 2022
I don’t know if tonight’s Commanders statement is the worst they’ve ever released but its certainly my least favorite.
Making Brian Robinson re-live one of the great tragedies of his life is the worst part. They’re also demanding the AG do something that isn’t his job. So bad.
— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) November 10, 2022
Ryan Williams, Robinson’s agent, was among those shocked by the statement.
Up until an hour ago, the Commanders handled the Brian Robinson situation with so much care, sincerity and class. 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. https://t.co/cnD0DtUfqm
— Ryan Williams (@RyanWilliamsA1) November 10, 2022
This pathetic excuse for a football team can’t possibly be sold soon enough. https://t.co/J0fhcDmIrL
— Doug Farrar ✍ (@NFL_DougFarrar) November 10, 2022
To use Brian Robinson’s shooting as a strawman jab at the DC Attorney General is low, despicable and quite typical. Terrible. https://t.co/5ZycfwAZ1b
— Disco (@discoque5) November 10, 2022
There’s PR spin and then there’s this. Bringing Brian Robinson into this is despicable.
Just when I think the Washington organization can’t sink any lower, they keep digging. https://t.co/mVsI5lzMef
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) November 10, 2022
Translation: there is going to be some more really bad news about our owner so let’s use our running back as a prop. 🙄 https://t.co/249Fiezlby
— Andrew Brandt (@AndrewBrandt) November 10, 2022
Brian Robinson’s amazing comeback is one of the truly great stories in football this year and in Washington football history. To bring it up in this context is tone deaf, embarrassing, a disservice to Brian and his many fans and just…awful. https://t.co/XsbRfSpn4X
— Matthew Berry (@MatthewBerryTMR) November 9, 2022
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Racine began an investigation into the Commanders after a congressional investigation focusing on the franchise’s workplace culture also raised red flags about potential financial improprieties by the team.
The details of Racine’s announcement, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET Thursday, aren’t known.