Journal De Bruxelles - NFL Commanders fine Del Rio for Floyd-Capitol remarks

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NFL Commanders fine Del Rio for Floyd-Capitol remarks
NFL Commanders fine Del Rio for Floyd-Capitol remarks / Photo: Justin Casterline - GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File

NFL Commanders fine Del Rio for Floyd-Capitol remarks

The NFL's Washington Commanders fined defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio $100,000 on Friday for comments this week comparing the 2021 US Capitol insurrection to 2020 protests following George Floyd's death.

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The club announced that the fine, imposed by head coach Ron Rivera, would be donated to the US Capitol Police Memorial Fund.

Del Rio, 59, is a former NFL head coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars and then-Oakland Raiders. He has guided Washington's defensive unit since Rivera took over the team in 2000.

Del Rio tweeted about what he considered a double standard between comments about the violence last year at the US Capitol and what Del Rio dubbed a "summer of riots, looting, burning and the destruction of personal property" in 2020 -- his description of generally peaceful protests in the wake of Floyd, a black man, being killed by a police officer who was later convicted of murder.

Del Rio defended his opinion on Wednesday, but downplayed the insurrection, which he described as a "dust-up" -- a description that sparked more controversy.

Del Rio later apologized for the word, saying his terminology was "irresponsible and negligent" but several former Washington players were unhappy with the comments and there were calls for Del Rio's removal from his job.

"This morning I met with coach Del Rio to express how disappointed I am in his comments on Wednesday," Rivera said in a statement. "His comments do not reflect the organization's views and are extremely hurtful to our great community.

"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 called the Capitol invasion on January 6, 2021, "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.

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

"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."

Commanders defensive captain Jonathan Allen told NBC Sports Washington Del Rio's work was more important than his words.

"I don't care about his opinion," Allen said. "As long as he shows up every day and he works hard, that's what I want from my defensive coordinator."

Washington's defensive unit was among the NFL's toughest in 2020, ranking second in total yards allowed, but it sank to 22nd in that category last year.