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Washington Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio’s comments about the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and the 2020 George Floyd protests have now cost the coach his social media account.
The longtime NFL coach deactivated his Twitter account following the controversy about his remarks and the $100,000 fine levied by Washington coach Ron Rivera.
Del Rio on Wednesday downplayed the Jan. 6, 2021, riots at the Capitol and questioned why the intense protests in the summer following Floyd’s death didn’t receive the same ballot.
Del Rio called the Jan. 6 riot a “dust-up at the Capitol” and later attempted to backtrack on his remarks.
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“I made comments earlier today in referencing the attack that took place on the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Referencing that situation as a dust-up was irresponsible and negligent, and I am sorry,” Del Rio said in a statement .
“I stand by my comments condemning violence in communities across the country. I say that while also expressing my support as an American citizen for peaceful protest in our country. I have fully supported all peaceful protests in America. I love, respect and support all my fellow coaches, players and staff that I work with and respect their views and opinions.”
Rivera on Friday announced a fine and said the comments were hurtful to the community and didn’t reflect the views of the organization.
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“He understands the distinction between the events of that dark day and peaceful protests, which are a hallmark of our democracy,” Rivera said. “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 equivalence between those who demanded justice in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the actions of those on Jan .6 who sought to topple our government.”
Rivera said Del Rio’s fine would be donated to the United States Capitol Police Memorial Fund.
Del Rio’s comments had other implications.
The Virginia legislature abandoned a bill that would have given the NFL team tax incentives to build a new stadium in the state. And NAACP president Derrick Johnson called for Del Rio to be fired.
“It is time for Jack Del Rio to resign or be terminated,” Johnson said. “His comments could not have been more offensive and ignorant. The Jan. 6th insurrection — an attempted coup — was far from a ‘dust-up.’ Each day we learn more and more on just how close our democracy came to autocracy.
“Downplaying the insurrection by comparing it to nationwide protests, which were in response to a public lynching, is twisted. You can’t coach a majority Black team while turning your back on the Black community. It’s time for you to pack up and step off the field.”
Commanders defensive lineman Jonathan Allen said he wasn’t bothered by Del Rio’s opinion.
“Me personally, I don’t care about his opinion. As long as he shows up every day, and he works hard, that’s what I want from my defensive coordinator,” Allen told NBC Sports Washington.
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“In my opinion, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. Some guys decide to share it on Twitter; some guys don’t. It doesn’t make one person better than the other. At the end of the day, you can have a difference in opinion and still respect one another. I feel like that’s what our country is about. That’s what our team is about.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.