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Washington Commanders fine Jack Del Rio $100,000 for Jan. 6 comments

Jack Del Rio
Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Commanders have fined defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio $100,000 for comments he made on Wednesday regarding the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Del Rio met with reporters Wednesday to address a previous tweet regarding his comparison of the Jan. 6 attacks to protesting in 2020 following the death of George Floyd. When asked about his decision to closely compare the two events in U.S. history, Del Rio referred to the Jan. 6 attacks as a “dust-up at the Capitol.”

“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 going to make that a major deal.”

Jack Del Rio on Jan. 6 attacks vs protests over the killing of George Floyd in 2020

Del Rio, hired by head coach Ron Rivera as the Commanders’ defensive coordinator before 2020, later released a follow-up statement on Twitter. In the apology shared on Twitter via his notes app, Washington’s defensive coordinator called his use of the phrase dust-up “irresponsible and negligent.”

Related: NAACP calls for Jack Del Rio to be fired

Amid growing calls for the 59-year-old NFL coach to resign, the Commanders announced Friday that Del Rio was fined $100,000 following a sit-down meeting with Rivera.

Del Rio did not apologize for the original comments made on Twitter and defended his right to share his opinions on his platform. As of now, the Commanders seemingly intend to keep him as their defensive coordinator for the 2022 season.

History of Jack Del Rio’s commentary on issues

NFL: New York Giants at Washington Football Team
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Jack Del Rio has worked in the NFL since 1997, serving in a variety of roles including as a head coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars (2003-’11) and Oakland Raiders (2015-’17). In recent years, he has often used his Twitter account and media stage to weigh in on a variety of controversial topics.

He defended his right to speak out on the Jan. 6 attacks in relation to protests that have taken place in the past several years. Del Rio cited his support for peaceful protests in America and the right for everyone to speak out on important issues.

This marks a change in tone from prior comments. After Colin Kaepernick sparked a wave of NFL players peacefully protesting during the national anthem, Del Rio told The Mercury News in 2016 that demonstrations like that were best saved for when players weren’t wearing a Raiders’ uniform.

“For us, I think it’s more about recognizing that you’re part of an organization. You’re representing our organization, and our organization believes that you should pay respect to the flag. Save those individual decisions to express yourself for an individual forum.”

Jack Del Rio in 2017 on Colin Kaepernick, players kneeling during national anthem

A public supporter of former President Donald Trump, Del Rio has been found to have spread some misinformation in the past and favorited derogatory tweets about NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace.

Ultimately, the COmmanders feel Del Rio’s tweets and any potential media distractions he creates through his comments and tweet are worth the value he brings as a defensive coordinator. Washington enters the 2022 season outside the top 20 in our NFL defense rankings, coming off a 2021 campaign that saw this unit allow the eighth-most points (25.5) and 11th-most total yards (359.3) per game.

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