The Washington Commanders NFL team (formerly the Redskins), fined defensive coach Jack Del Rio $100,000 Friday for comments earlier this week in which he called the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot a “dust up” as compared to the nationwide George Floyd riots in late spring and summer of 2020.
Jack Del Rio speaks to reporters Wednesday, screen image via WRC-TV/Twitter.
Del Rio initially commented on the riots in a tweet Monday night on the January 6 Congressional committee, “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 ???
Del Rio explained his comment during a Commanders press conference on Wednesday:
Oh, if they are (if the players are upset) and, and they want to talk about it, I’d talk about it with anybody, no problem, at any time. But they’re not. I’m just expressing myself, and I think we all as Americans have a right to express ourselves, especially if you’re being respectful. I’m being respectful.
I just asked a simple question. Really, did I, 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? Cuz it’s kinda hard for me to say. I can realistically look at it, I see the images on the TV: People’s livelihoods are being destroyed, businesses are being burned down, no problem. And then we have a dustup at the Capitol, nothing burned down, and we’re not gonna talk about, 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. We’re Americans, let’s talk it through. I’m for, I’m for us, you know, having a great opportunity to have a fulfilled life. Like I said every which way I can when I’m here it’s about love and respect. I love my guys, I respect my guys, but I also love the fact that I’m an American and that means I’m free to express myself and I’m not afraid to do that.
Commanders DC Jack Del Rio on his recent tweet (https://t.co/odv7zr4BOn) at today's media session
— NBC4 Sports (@NBC4Sports) June 8, 2022
Del Rio tweeted an apology later on Wednesday:
“I made comments earlier today in referencing the attack that took place on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021. Referencing that situation as a dust-up was irresponsible and negligent and I am sorry. 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, players, and staff that I work with and respect their views and opinions.”
Commanders statement by head coach Ron Rivera:
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 in the DMV,” Rivera said. “As we saw last night in the (Congress) hearings, what happened on the Capitol on Jan. 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 Jan. 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 State 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.
— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) June 10, 2022