Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio had a busy week commenting on — and apologizing for remarks about — the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, which he initially downplayed as a “dust-up” in comparison to riots across the country the prior summer. On Friday, his head coach, Ron Rivera, made him pay for it. Rivera met with Del Rio to express disappointment in the latter’s remarks, then announced in a team statement that he’s fined the defensive coordinator $100,000, which will be donated to the U.S. Capitol Police Memorial Fund.
“(Coach Del Rio’s) 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,” Rivera continued. “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.”
Following the fine and Rivera’s comments, Del Rio deleted his Twitter account.
Del Rio’s initial remarks came Monday, when he replied to a tweet about Jan. 6 hearings, asking why the Capitol assault is discussed more than the “summer of riots, looting, burning and the destruction of personal property.” On Wednesday, he doubled down on his critiques at a press conference, suggesting destructive protests following George Floyd’s 2020 murder are overlooked whereas the Jan. 6 insurrection was not a “major deal.”
His fine will contribute to the USCP Memorial Fund, which was established by Congress as the official means for the public to support the families of Capitol Police officers killed in the line of duty, and/or officers who have sustained serious line-of-duty injuries.