If you could pick any of the 435 members of the House of Representatives to throw hands with, Colin Allred would be at the very bottom of the list.
Allred, the second-term Democrat who represents the Dallas area in Texas’ 32nd Congressional District, is a lawyer who worked in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of General Counsel. But before going to law school and entering government, Allred was a 6-1, 238-pound linebacker who played four seasons with the Tennessee Titans. He’s only 37 years old and still looks quite fit.
On Wednesday afternoon, Allred was shaken by the mob occupation of the Capitol, texting his wife, “Whatever happens, I love you,” as the rioters approached the House chamber. He detailed the horror of the situation in an interview with The Dallas Morning News, and also reflected on what an upside-down scenario the entire coup attempt was.
“I can’t really stress enough how inviolable the House floor is supposed to be,” Allred said. “It’s a place of debate. It’s a place of democracy. It’s a place where, yes, we have disagreements. It’s not a place of violence.”
Yet, in the wee hours of Thursday morning, as Congress slogged toward finalizing the electoral vote count, Grace Segers of CBS News reported that Allred nearly was involved in some more violence on the House floor.
Fighting Allred would have been a very bad idea for Maryland Rep. Andy Harris, a 63-year-old former Navy doctor. Not to demean Navy doctors, but mixing it up with a guy who was in the NFL just a decade ago would have meant that the doctor would have needed to see another physician, quickly.
But, as it turns out, the report was inaccurate. Allred was trying to serve as a peacemaker while Harris screamed about being (correctly) called a liar by Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) in his floor speech.
You can hear Allred, at the 5:05 mark of the C-SPAN video, saying, “Are you serious?” and “haven’t you had enough violence today?” He was imploring Harris and another member of the House to stand down. In fact, after Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared, “The gentlemen will clear this chamber,” Allred can be seen returning to his seat.
So, who was the gentleman that nearly came to blows with Harris? That would be… another Congressman whom it would be a bad idea to fight, Rep. Al Lawson of Florida, as reported by Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald, and confirmed by Deadspin.
Lawson isn’t a former NFL player. He’s a former college basketball player at Florida A&M whose name is now on the arena where the Rattlers play. He’s also 72 years old, not 37 like Allred, so maybe that would have been a fairer fight, but Lawson is still a 6-7 former elite athlete who’s in pretty good shape.
“Nothing physical ever happened, or was going to happen,” Harris said in a statement released on Thursday. “Mr. Allred stepped in only to ease tensions at the end of a difficult day.”
While he spent plenty of time lying about election fraud, which he screamed about being called on, leading to Lawson confronting him, Harris was truthful about this. Getting physical with Lawson or Allred would have gone as badly for him as every vote the House took about those Trumpian claims of a stolen election.