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Commanders coach fined $100K by Ron Rivera for calling Jan. 6 Capitol attacks a 'dust-up'

Head coach Ron Rivera said the money would be donated to the United States Capitol Police Memorial Fund.

WASHINGTON — Following a controversial tweet and a contentious press conference, Washington Commanders coach Jack Del Rio is facing a $100,000 fine.

The defensive coordinator came under fire Wednesday during an OTA for standing by his statement drawing comparisons between racial justice protests in the summer of 2020 and the 2021 Capitol riot. In the initial tweet, Del Rio was reacting to a news article about the Jan. 6 hearings asking why the summer of "riots, looting, burning and the destruction of personal property" isn't getting the same level of attention by lawmakers. 

Then, he doubled down while speaking to the press later, calling the insurrection a "dust-up."

On Friday, Commanders head coach Ron Rivera said he had met with Del Rio to express his own disappointment and had decided to fine his defensive coordinator $100,000, to be donated to the United States Capitol Police Memorial Fund.

"His comments do not reflect the organization's views and are extremely hurtful to our great community here in the DMV," Rivera said. "As we saw last night in the hearings, what happened on the Capitol on January 6, 2021 was 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." 

RELATED: Commanders defensive coordinator calls Capitol riots a 'dust-up,' Virginia State senator calls comments 'highly inflammatory'

Rivera acknowledged that Del Rio later walked back portions of his comments. In a statement on Twitter, hours after the OTA, Del Rio apologized for referring to the insurrection as a "dust-up," saying that language was "irresponsible and negligent." Del Rio continued to stand by the rest of his comments, supporting peaceful protests, but condemning community violence. 

"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," Rivera said. "However, words have consequences and his words hurt a lot of people in our community."

The coach went on to say that the Commanders organization would "not tolerate" anyone making comparisons between racial justice protests and the insurrection.

"I feel strongly that after our conversation this morning, [Del Rio] will have a greater understanding for the impact of his language and the values that our team stands for," Rivera said, ending his statement. 

RELATED: 'Pack up and step off the field' | NAACP calls for Jack Del Rio to resign after comparing Jan. 6 to BLM protests

NAACP President Derrick Johnson previously called for Del Rio to resign or be fired, calling his comments "offensive and ignorant." 

"You can’t coach a majority Black team while turning your back on the Black community," Johnson said. "It’s time for you to pack up and step off the field."

Shortly after Del Rio's "dust-up" comments, a majority of the DC Council has made it explicitly clear they would not support any NFL stadium being hosted on the RFK campus, with Councilmember Charles Allen referencing the comments specifically. 

Virginia lawmakers who sponsored legislation hoping to lure the Washington Commanders' new stadium to the state also announced they are now tabling the bill. Sen. Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax), the main sponsor of the Senate bill, said that there were too many issues to be resolved and controversies surrounding the NFL team for the legislation to proceed. The bill now remains in committee until the end of the legislative session, but it could be reintroduced next year, he said.

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