Head Coach Ron Rivera of the Washington Commanders announced on Friday that Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio had been fined $100,000 for comments he made on Twitter about the disparity in government attention between the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and the nationwide riots that followed the death of George Floyd while in police custody.
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On Friday, team coach Ron Rivera issued the following statement:
In a statement, Rivera distanced the team from Del Rio’s post, “This morning I met with Coach Del Rio to express how disappointed I am in his comments on Wednesday. His comments do not reflect the organization’s views and are extremely hurtful to our great community here in the DMV. Del Rio joined the Commanders in 2020.
The head coach went on to refer to the Capitol Riot as an “act of domestic terrorism” at the Jan. 6 commission hearings, which aired Thursday evening.
“As we saw (Thursday) night in the hearings, what happened on the Capitol on January 6, 2021 was an act of domestic terrorism. A group of citizens attempted to overturn the results of a free and fair election, and as a result, lives were lost and the Capitol building was damaged. 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.
“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. I want to make it clear that our organization will not tolerate any equivalency 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.
“After reflecting on the situation and circumstances, I have decided to fine Coach Del Rio $100,000, which the team will donate to the United States Capitol Police Memorial Fund. I feel strongly that after our conversation this morning, he will have a greater understanding for the impact of his language and the values that our team stands for.”
However, Del Rio did not mention George Floyd in his post, nor did he support the acts of individuals who broke into the Capitol building on Jan. 6.
While George Floyd’s death sparked few peaceful protests, the summer after his death saw massive riots, including large-scale destruction, arson, and acts of violence.
Del Rio responded to a Brookings Institution piece on the hearings on Monday, wondering why the “summer of riots, looting, burning, and the destruction of personal property is never highlighted,” as quoted in the post.
“Would love to understand “the whole story “ about why the summer of riots, looting, burning and the destruction of personal property is never discussed but this is ???#CommonSense”
Later in the afternoon, he issued a statement apologizing for his wording but on Wednesday explained his position publicly. “What did I ask? A simple question. Why are we not looking into those things?” he said, according to Fox News.
“Because it’s kind of hard for me to say, I can realistically look at it, I see the images on TV. People’s livelihoods are being destroyed, businesses are being burned down, no problem.”
“And then we have a dust-up at the Capitol. Nothing burned down,” he continued. “And we’re going to make that a major deal. I just think it’s kind of two standards. And if we apply the same standard, and we’re going to be reasonable with each other, let’s have a discussion. That’s all it was. Let’s have a discussion.”
The Washington Commanders were previously known as the Washington Redskins, but that name was dropped in 2020 because of concerns that it was derogatory to Native Americans. For two years, they were known as the Washington Football Team before changing their name to the Commanders in 2022.