Washington Commanders cornerback Benjamin St-Juste is enjoying a breakout sophomore season after a series of stints on concussion protocol limited him to just nine games as a rookie.
In Week 9, St-Juste held his own against Vikings superstar receiver Justin Jefferson, recording two pass breakups, including one in the end zone, and a fourth quarter pick-six that was overturned due to a suspect pass interference call.
At 6-foot-3 with great footwork and instincts, St-Juste looks the part of a building block on Washington’s defense. With William Jackson III now in Pittsburgh, and so much unknown about Kendall Fuller’s future with the team, the 2021 third-round pick could open next campaign as the Commanders’ No. 1 corner.
Already endearing himself to fans with his sticky coverage and ball skills, St-Juste’s popularity likely exploded on Thursday after he became the first active Washington player to speak out against embattled owner Dan Snyder.
Speaking to a French-language paper, St-Juste referred to Snyder as a “dark cloud” hanging over the franchise and that it could use a “fresh start.”
Commanders’ Benjamin St-Juste becomes first active player to speak out against owner Dan Snyder.
Here’s what St-Juste said of Snyder’s ownership, via Audacy.com.
"“Since I arrived here, it’s been a dark cloud over our organization. Every time there is something good happening on the pitch, something bad is happening off it. It would give us great energy to have a fresh start and regain the confidence of the fans.”"
Plenty of former players have condemned Snyder. Can anyone recall an active player for the organization speaking out against the owner, though?
St-Juste’s comments come in the wake of Snyder embarrassing the franchise by releasing a statement in response to D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine announcing there will be a “major announcement” regarding the Commanders. In the statement, Snyder’s lawyers accused Racine of failing to “make the streets safe for our citizens, including bringing to justice the people who shot one of our players.”
Using the shooting of Brian Robinson as a shield is as deplorable as it gets, and it elicited a response from Robinson’s agent, Ryan Williams, who didn’t mince words attacking Snyder, saying “Although I know there are some great humans in that building, whoever is hiding behind this statement isn’t one of them.”
That major announcement, by the way, was MAJOR, as Racine confirmed the Attorney General’s office is suing Snyder, the Commanders, the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell for “colluding to deceive District residents — the heart of the Commanders’ fanbase — about an investigation into toxic workplace culture.”
Racine’s statement continued:
"After public reporting revealed that sexual misconduct, harassment, and misogyny ran rampant for decades at the team, the defendants promised DC residents that the league was going to fix this toxic culture, including by fully cooperating with an independent investigation.That was all a lie.Instead, the NFL turned a blind eye to Snyder’s extensive efforts to silence or intimidate witnesses, and the NFL and Commanders entered into a secret agreement that gave Snyder power to veto the release of any results."
It’s unclear if St-Juste will face any discipline for these comments, but he deserves to be commended for not backing down. As a second-year player who’s just 18 games into his pro career, we can only imagine how Jon Allen, Terry McLaurin, Kendall Fuller and other veterans feel about the team’s owner.