Commanders’ Ron Rivera explains Jack Del Rio’s fine for January 6 comments

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Washington Commanders coach Ron Rivera has explained why he fined defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio $100,000 for the coach’s remarks about the Jan. 6 mob attack.

Rivera said he was a big supporter of the First Amendment, but the discipline Del Rio received was not about free speech.

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Washington Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio walks among his defenders as they warm up during an OTA for Washington Commanders at their training center in Ashburn, Va., June 8, 2022.
(John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

“It’s not [about] the fact that he exercised his right to freedom of expression. It’s about what impacted the football team. I strongly believe in the First Amendment. But what we all need to understand with these rights, these freedoms come [with] huge responsibility, and we have to understand that as well,” Rivera said.

“It’s about the impact that’s been made on our football team, the distraction it’s become. It’s a very serious issue and subject, but ultimately it affected us, and that’s why I did what I did.”

COMMANDERS’ JACK DEL RIO LEAVES TWITTER AFTER JAN. 6 REMARKS

Rivera said Del Rio apologized to the team and offered to meet with the players about the comments he made. Del Rio played down the Jan. 6, 2021 riots on Capitol Hill last week and questioned why the intense summer protests following Floyd’s death hadn’t received the same scrutiny.

Washington Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio speaks with the media after an OTA for Washington Commanders at their training facility in Ashburn, Va., June 8, 2022.

Washington Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio speaks with the media after an OTA for Washington Commanders at their training facility in Ashburn, Va., June 8, 2022.
(John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Del Rio called the Jan. 6 riot “dust on Capitol Hill” and then tried to walk back his remarks.

“I made comments earlier today referring to the attack that took place on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021. Referring to this situation as dust was irresponsible and negligent, and I I’m sorry,” Del Rio said in a statement. .

“I stand by my comments condemning violence in communities across the country. I say this while expressing my support as an American citizen for a peaceful protest in our country. I have fully supported all peaceful protests in America. J love, respect and support all of my fellow coaches, players and staff I work with and respect their views and opinions.”

Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera (L) and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio celebrate in the final seconds of their second half win over the Philadelphia Eagles at FedExField on September 13, 2020 in Landover, Maryland.

Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera (L) and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio celebrate in the final seconds of their second half win over the Philadelphia Eagles at FedExField on September 13, 2020 in Landover, Maryland.
(Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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Del Rio has since deleted his Twitter. Rivera said Del Rio’s fine would be donated to the United States Capitol Police Memorial Fund.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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