Speaking his mind about the Capitol incursion has cost Washington Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio $100,000.
Del Rio was fined after comparing the incursion with the vast damage done during riots that took place in the summer of 2020.
Del Rio tweeted, “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,” according to ESPN.
On Wednesday, he was asked about the comment, according to The Washington Post.
“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,” he said.
Commanders DC Jack Del Rio on tweet comparing George Floyd protest to the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan 6th
— Darren M. Haynes (@DarrenMHaynes) June 8, 2022
Washington coach Ron Rivera said he met with Del Rio on Friday to tell Del Rio the comments were out of line.
“His comments do not reflect the organization’s views and are extremely hurtful to our great community here in the DMV [D.C.-Maryland-Virginia]. 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,” Rivera said, according to ESPN.
Del Rio’s comments came as the team was trying to work with politicians in Washington and Virginia for a new stadium.
Democratic Virginia state Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw said Del Rio’s comment was one of the deciding factors as to why Virginia halted any efforts to move forward with a bill to fund a new stadium.
Del Rio had begun the apology process on Wednesday.
“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,” his statement said.
Rivera said Del Rio has a right to voice his opinion.
“However, words have consequences, and his words hurt a lot of people in our community,” he said.
“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. … I feel strongly that after our conversation this morning, he will have a greater understanding for the impact of his language and the values our team stands for,” Rivera said.
NAACP president Derrick Johnson wanted Del Rio to lose his job.
“His comments could not have been more offensive and ignorant,” Johnson said in a statement. “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.”
Del Rio admitted his opinions have made waves.
“Anything that I ever say or write, I’d be comfortable saying or writing in front of everybody that I work with — players and coaches,” Del Rio said. “I express myself as an American; we have that ability. I love this country, and I believe what I believe, and I’ve said what I want to say. Every now and then, there’s some people that get offended by it.”
Del Rio’s Twitter account has since been deleted.
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