WASHINGTON — Last season, John Wall attended the Redskins-Cowboys game at FedExField as a guest of the home team. He wore a throwback Emmitt Smith jersey and had a pained expression when a Cowboys’ team photographer captured the moment in all its glory.
Social media and sports talk radio were abuzz with hot takes on how much city loyalty matters, and if players like Wall should be compelled to wear local threads. The common refrain in any debate was, “who cares what team athletes cheer for?”
DeAngelo Hall, is who. And on Friday, more than seven months after the incident was laid to rest, Hall brought it up, unsolicited, in a conversation about the NBA Playoffs. Chad Dukes asked Hall if he had been keeping an eye on the Washington Wizards vs. the Boston Celtics, and that’s when it came out.
“I have, I have. Um. Y’know, this isn’t a personal shot, but I love John Wall, personally,” he said. “But, y’know, he kind of made me a little bit upset when he showed up to our game last year in a Dallas Cowboys jersey, after rocking with us for years and year, in our suites with the No. 2 John Wall ‘Skins jersey.
“Y’know, I love John Wall, so I was a little bit taken aback from that. But, y’know, the hometown love runs deep, man. I’m rooting for those guys to knock off the Celtics, man. John and the rest of those guys have been balling, so hopefully, they can keep going and pull this thing out.”
That’s about as candid of an answer as you will receive on the topic, and it’s something that clearly still bothers Hall months later. He stopped short of saying that anyone else cared much in the Redskins’ locker room, but it felt personal for Hall because he knows Wall personally.
“I don’t think anybody was too upset by it. But me, personally knowing John, I was just like ‘Oh man, that’s jacked up.’ I haven’t talked to him about it or anything, but I personally felt like ‘c’mon, rock with it, dog.’ We already got beat anyway, so you can still rock our jersey, can’t you? You’re in our city.”
Hall went on to say that he understands that the nature of drafts and free agency brings certain childhood fans to play in the city of their archrivals. If that was the case for Wall, that’s fine, but that doesn’t mean Hall would handle it the same way. Asked if he became an Atlanta Hawks fan after starting his career down there, Hall wasted no time in responding.
“Uh, no. Heck no. Heck no. I’m from Virginia, man,” he said. “Even if I lived in Atlanta, at the end of the day, I’m a Wizards fan. I was an old school Bullets fan back in the day.”
That might make his case a bit of a double-standard, but Hall makes no apologies. He is a lifelong Redskins fan who plays for his hometown team, and he would appreciate if other athletes who make their paychecks here show a little bit of love for the city and fans that keep them paid.
Is that too much to ask?