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Jack Del Rio's Apology to Commanders Was 'Well Received,' Ron Rivera Says

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJune 14, 2022

Chris Unger/Getty Images

Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera said defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio made an apology during a team meeting Tuesday for his comments describing the January 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol as a "dustup."

"Jack spoke to the team this morning during the team meeting and was very open and contrite and apologized and was open to questions," Rivera told reporters. "He said, 'Guys, if you have any questions, come see me and let's talk about that.' It was good. I'm about reconciliation."

Rivera previously fined Del Rio $100,000 for his remarks.

Del Rio, a former head coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders, has served as the Commanders defensive coordinator since 2020.

The 59-year-old California native made a comparison on Twitter last week between the protests following the death of George Floyd and the Capitol insurrection, which he later defended in a press conference.

"People's livelihoods are being destroyed, businesses are being burned down, no problem," Del Rio told reporters. "And then we have a dust-up at the Capitol, nothing burned down, and we're going to make that a major deal. I just think it's kind of two standards."

He's since deleted his Twitter account.

Rivera explained Tuesday the fine was based on the impact Del Rio's comments had on the organization and not a punishment for the coach taking a stance and using his First Amendment rights.

"This is not about the fact he exercised his right to free speech," Rivera said. "This is about what impacted this football team. I believe in the First Amendment very strongly. It's a very serious question and topic, but at the end of the day, it did impact us. That's why I did what I did."

In his third year as Washington's head coach, Rivera also confirmed he's met with Del Rio twice since the original comments. He denied there was any talk of the assistant being "one strike" away from being fired but declined to provide any further specifics.

"This was not communicated any other way other than Jack and I had a conversation that will remain between the two of us," Rivera said.

The Commanders are set to hold a mandatory minicamp Tuesday through Thursday.

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