Commanders HC Ron Rivera fines Jack Del Rio $100,000 for comments on U.S. Capitol insurrection

Washington head coach Ron Rivera fined DC Jack Del Rio $100,000 as punishment for comments made on the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Reacting to the latest controversy surrounding their franchise, Washington Commanders coach Ron Rivera fined defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio $100,000 as a punishment for his widely-criticized comments on the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Del Rio compared the Jan. 6, 2021 incident spurred by former President Donald Trump losing the election to Joe Biden to the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis while in the custody of police officers. The money will be donated to the United States Capitol Police Memorial Fund.

Washington Commanders HC Ron Rivera fines DC Jack Del Rio

“This morning I met with Coach Del Rio to express how disappointed I am in his comments on Wednesday,” Rivera said in a statement. “His comments do not reflect the organization’s views and are extremely hurtful to our great community here in the DMV. As we saw last 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.”

Del Rio doubled down on his social media post during a press conference during which he characterized the insurrection as a “dust-up.”

That created even more controversy, leading to the NAACP asking for his dismissal or resignation.

“People’s livelihoods are being destroyed, businesses are being burned down, no problem,” Del Rio said at the time. “And then we have a dust-up at the Capitol, nothing burned down, and we’re going to make that a major deal. I just think it’s kind of two standards.”

Del Rio issues statement of apology, NAACP responds

Del Rio later issued a statement of apology, acknowledging his comments were “irresponsible and negligent.”

He also said: “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.”

Derrick Johnson, the president of the NAACP, issued a statement about Del Rio.

“It is time for Jack Del Rio to resign or be terminated,” Johnson said. “His comments could not have been more offensive and ignorant. 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.”

Added Rod Graves, executive director of the Fritz Pollard Alliance: “Jack Del Rio’s initial comments regarding the protests of supporters for Black Lives Matter go against the values of the Fritz Pollard Alliance and what the NFL should stand for. The FPA has been working with the NFL to bring about better opportunities and an equitable system for all. The first step to creating progress is to recognize that we’ve been operating on an un-level playing field.”

During his Wednesday press conference, Del Rio said: “Really, let’s get right down to it. What did I ask? A simple question. Why are we not looking into those things if we’re going to talk about it? Why are we not looking into those things? 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, and we’re not going to talk about — we’re going to make that a major deal.”

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