Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera dropped a $100,000 fine on defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio last week following his comments about the January 6 insurrection. Now, he’s discussing how it went down and why he feels it was important.
“I told him the decision was I was going to fine him $100,000 and we were going to move forward with this,” Rivera told reporters on Tuesday. “We had a great conversation. We talked again this morning. The big understanding, just so everybody understands, this is not the fact that he exercised his right to free speech. This is what impacted the football team. OK? And that’s what we all have to understand. I believe in the first amendment very strongly.
” … But the thing that we all have to understand with these rights, these freedoms come with tremendous responsibility and we have to understand that as well. And so this is about the that was impact made on our football team and the distraction that it has become. And it’s a very serious question and topic but at the end of the day, it did impact us and that’s why I did what I did.”
The fine stemmed from Del Rio’s comments, first on Twitter and then during a press conference, comparing the 2020 protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and subsequently describing Jan. 6, 2021, as a “dustup.” Del Rio would later apologize and delete his Twitter account.
Rivera added that Del Rio spoke to the team ahead of minicamp this week.
“He was very open, very forthright, very contrite and apologized and opened himself up to questions or opportunities for any players to come in and meet with him,” Rivera said. “He’s already met with some of our players and talked to some of them about what was said. I’ve been told those meetings went very very well. And so I’m very pleased with that. As he finished, he did the same thing: ‘Guys, please, any questions, come see me let’s talk about that.’ And I thought it was good. It was well-received, and we’ll see. But our intent is to go forward. I’m about reconciliation. I think not just this football team but this community.”
Del Rio has been Rivera’s DC since he became head coach in 2020.