Former NFL player Derrick Dockery quietly becomes a guardian for TikTok on Capitol Hill
Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Former National Football League player Derrick Dockery quietly joined the lobbying efforts for the Chinese social media site TikTok and has been working as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., since 2020, federal records show.

The ex-offensive lineman, who played for the Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and the franchise now known as the Washington Commanders during his 10-year professional career, spent a few years doing internships and low-level work for Republicans on Capitol Hill before joining the team at ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok.

Over the past weeks, more governors have banned the app from state devices and on state wifi networks. The University of Texas also banned the app from use on its campus networks and devices out of security fears.

Political rumors have spread over the past year that the government could block TikTok from the U.S. entirely, but it would be an unprecedented step for a country not known for making government decisions on apps. So it isn't unusual that a multi-national tech company would throw a lot of money at lobbying efforts in Washington.

ByteDance and TikTok together spent nearly $4.3 million lobbying the federal government during the first nine months of 2022 — on pace to exceed the nearly $5.2 million they spent during 2021, according to nonpartisan research organization OpenSecrets.

Dockery previously worked for former Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) as his "Business and Intergovernmental Coalitions Director," his LinkedIn page said. He even worked as a Ryan press aide from 2013 to 2015.