Washington leaders have fined Defense Coordinator Jack Del Rio $100,000 after his remarks earlier in the week that referred to the January 6, 2021 events at the US Capitol as “dust” and compared that day to “rioting, looting and burning.” during the summer protests 2020.
Washington coach Ron Rivera said in a statement that he met with Del Rio on Friday morning to express his disappointment with the coordinator’s comments.
“His comments do not reflect the views of the organization and are deeply hurtful to our great community here at DMV,” Rivera said. “As we saw last night at the hearings, what happened on the Capitol on January 6, 2021 was an act of domestic terrorism, as a group of citizens attempted to overturn the results of a free and fair election, resulting in loss of life. The Capitol was damaged.”
Rivera said the amount of the fine will be donated to the US Capitol Police Memorial Fund. The Capitol riots left more than 100 police officers injured, and five police officers serving on the Capitol died on January 6 in the days and weeks that followed.
Del Rio will also address the team on Tuesday, when the leaders begin their mandatory three-day mini-camp.
On Wednesday, del Rio defended a response he sent on Twitter two days ago, when he tweeted: “I’d like to understand the ‘whole story’ about why a summer of riots, looting, arson, and destruction of personal property is never discussed but that is??? #CommonSense.”
Del Rio said he felt there were two standards applied and that he was only expressing his opinion. But in response to the final question at his press conference, Del Rio called the invasion of the US Capitol “dust,” sparking yet another controversy over the franchise.
He apologized in a statement later Wednesday, saying: “Referring to this situation as a flick was irresponsible and careless and I’m sorry. I stand by my comments condemning violence in communities across the country. And I say this while also expressing my support as a citizen American for peaceful protest in our country.”
Rivera said del Rio has a right to his opinion, “but words have consequences and his words hurt a lot of people in our society.”
“I want to make it clear that our organization will not tolerate any parity between those who demanded justice in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the actions of those who, on January 6, sought to overthrow our government,” Rivera added. “…I feel very strongly that after our conversation this morning, he will have a greater understanding of the impact of his language and the values that our team represents.”
– Washington leaders (leaders) June 10, 2022
On Thursday, Virginia’s General Assembly decided to vote until next year on whether it would help fund the state’s Leaders Stadium. Some senators said del Rio’s comments made that decision easier, even though there was already momentum toward bringing the vote up.
On the same day, NAACP President Derek Johnson called on Del Rio to “resign or terminate” over his comments.
“His comments could not have been more offensive and ignorant,” Johnson said in a statement. “The January 6 uprising – an attempted coup – was far from a ‘flick’. Every day we learn more and more about how close our democracy is to authoritarianism. Downplaying the rebellion by comparing it to the nationwide protests, which were in response to lynching, this Quirky. You can’t coach a majority black team while you turn your back on the black community. It’s time for you to pack up and get off the field.”
However, sources close to some of the defensive players said they did not believe there would be a split. A source close to defensive end Chase Young said Del Rio was his “man,” while John Allen told NBC Sports Washington, “I don’t care what he thinks as long as he shows up every day and works hard. That’s what I want from my defensive coordinator.”
Del Rio said Wednesday that he would meet with any player who had a problem with what he said.
The House Inquiry into the 2021 Insurrection Committee held its first public hearing Thursday. The six sessions, which are expected to run through late June, include “never before seen material” about what the commission discovered in the course of a 10-month investigation.
Besides the backlash generated by Del Rio’s comments, leaders are also dealing with congressional and NFL investigations of team owner Dan Snyder into workplace culture and allegations of sexual misconduct. These investigations come on the heels of a $10 million fine issued by the NFL after it found a toxic workplace culture in the franchise. The association opened another investigation in February after a new accusation of sexual misconduct against Snyder.
Prosecutors in Virginia and Washington, DC, are also looking into allegations of financial wrongdoing by the leaders. The team denied the accusations made by a former employee.
Del Rio caused a stir two years ago with various tweets, telling someone who found out he supports President Donald Trump, “I’m 100% for America, if you’re not, you can kiss A$$.” It didn’t hurt his relationship with the players.
“Anything I say or write, I will be comfortable saying or writing it in front of everyone I work with – players and coaches,” Del Rio said on Wednesday. “I express myself as an American; we have this ability. I love this country, I believe what I believe in, and I have said what I want to say. Every now and then, there are some people who get angry about it.”