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Washington Commanders fine Jack Del Rio Ron Rivera

Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera announced on Friday that he has fined defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio $100,000 for his comments related to the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021

Calling the events of Jan. 6, 2021 an “an act of domestic terrorism” that “attempted to overturn the results of a free and fair election,” Rivera said that Del Rio’s fine will be donated to the United States Capitol Police Memorial Fund.

On Wednesday, Del Rio was asked about a tweet he sent out the previous in response to Brookings Institute senior fellow Norm Eisen’s guide to the January 6 Committee hearings that began on Thursday night, equating the actions of Jan. 6 with protests during the summer of 2020 following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

Del Rio referred to the events of Jan. 6 aces a “dust-up.”

“People’s livelihoods are being destroyed, businesses are being burned down, no problem,” Del Rio said on Wednesday. “And then we have a dust-up at the Capitol, nothing burned down — and we’re going to make that a major deal.”

Del Rio, 59, later apologized for his remarks.

“Referencing that situation as a dust up was irresponsible and negligent and I am sorry,” Del Rio said in a statement. “I stand by my comments condemning violence in communities across the country. I say that while also expressing my support as an American citizen for peaceful protest in our country. I have fully supported all peaceful protests in America. I love, respect, and support all my fellow coaches, payers, and staff that I work with and respect their views and opinions.”

The backlash to Del Rio’s remarks was swift.

NAACP president Derrick Johnson called for his immediate resignation.

“His comments could not have been more offensive and ignorant,” Johnson wrote. “The January 6th insurrection – an attempted coup – was far from a ‘dust-up’. Each day we learn more and more on just how close our democracy came to autocracy. Downplaying the insurrection by comparing it to nationwide protests, which were in response to a public lynching, is twisted. You can’t coach a majority Black team while turning your back on the Black community. It’s time for you to pack up and step off the field.”

Virginia state senator Jeremy McPike said that Del Rio’s comments would ensure the Commanders don’t receive state approval for a potential new stadium after reportedly purchasing $100 million of land last month.

“I think at this point, I don’t think there ever will be a vote,” McPike told The Team 980’s Grant and Danny show. I think they’re gonna be counting heads on the numbers, the number of people voting yes or no, and my guess is the vote’s probably off the table. I think this is the nail in the coffin. I think you’re gonna see more legislators now that have already been cooling off to it just shake their heads and walk away. I think that’s where we’re at now.”

Rivera noted that while Del Rio did apologize, his words were consequential.

“Coach Del Rio did apologize for his comments on Wednesday and he understands the distinction between the events of that dark day and peaceful protests, which are a hallmark of our democracy,” Rivera wrote. “He does have the right to voice his opinion as a citizen of the United States and it
most certainly is his constitutional right to do so. However, words have consequences and his words hurt a lot of people in our community. | want to make it clear that our organization will not tolerate any equivalence between those who demanded justice in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the actions of those on January 6 who sought to topple our government.”

The former head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders, Del Rio is headed into his third season as Washington’s DC.

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