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Commanders fine coach $100,000 for Jan. 6 remarks

AP/Patrick Semansky

The Washington Commanders fined its coach Jack Del Rio $100,000 for comments calling the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol a “dust-up” and comparing it to protests that occurred in 2020 after the murder of George Floyd, the team announced Friday.

“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,” Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera said in a statement.

“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,” Rivera added.

Del Rio on Monday tweeted criticism of the media attention given to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol compared to what he perceived as a lack of coverage of looting and vandalism that occurred during some of the protests against racial injustice in 2020.

Responding to a tweet saying that “we must understand the whole story of January 6th,” Del Rio wrote on Twitter: “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.”

Del Rio’s remarks came days before the highly anticipated first public hearing of the House select committee investigating the insurrection.

Del Rio elaborated on his tweet at a news conference on Wednesday, saying, “I’m just expressing myself, and I think we all as Americans have the right to express ourselves, especially if you’re being respectful. I’m being respectful.”

“It’s kind of hard for me to say, I can realistically look at it. I see images on the TV, people’s livelihoods are being destroyed, businesses are being burned down, no problem,” he continued. “And then we have a dust-up at the Capitol, nothing burned down, and we’re going to make that a major deal.”

Rivera clarified on Friday that Del Rio’s comments “do not reflect the organization’s views and are extremely hurtful to our great community here in the DMV.”

“Coach Del Rio did apologize for his comments on Wednesday and he understands the distinction between the events of that day and peaceful protests, which are a hallmark of our democracy,” Rivera wrote.

Rivera continued, speaking of Del Rio: “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.”

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