Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera on Friday fined Jack Del Rio $100,000 and issued a frank statement condemning the defensive coordinator for remarks he made downplaying the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
The $100,000 will be donated to the U.S. Capitol Police Memorial Fund.
“As we saw last night in the [congressional] hearings, what happened on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, was an act of domestic terrorism,” Rivera said in a statement, referring to the first public hearing on Thursday held by the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot.
“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.
He added that Del Rio apologized for his comments and that he “understands the distinction between the events of that dark day and peaceful protests, which are a hallmark of our democracy.”
While the head coach acknowledged that Del Rio has the right “to voice his opinion as a citizen of the United States,” he encouraged him to be more deliberate in how he does so.
“Words have consequences and his words hurt a lot of people in our community,” Rivera continued. “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.”
Del Rio found himself on the defensive earlier this week after he dismissed last year’s violence by a pro-Donald Trump mob at the Capitol, which sought to overturn the results of the 2020 election, as a “dustup,” while portraying the summer’s Black Lives Matter protests after the police killing of Floyd as a “summer of riots, looting, burning and the destruction of personal property.”
A Princeton-led study found that the overwhelming majority of BLM protests were actually quite peaceful. And when they became violent, they either involved state-sanctioned violence, such as aggressive intervention from local, state or federal authorities, or from counter-protesters from extremist groups.