The NFL team that represents the nation's capital has fined a coach $100,000 for dismissing the Jan. 6 riot as a "dustup." The head coach of the Washington Commanders said he met with Jack Del Rio, the team's defensive coordinator, on Friday, ESPN reports. "His comments do not reflect the organization's views and are extremely hurtful to our great community," Ron Rivera's statement said. Because of the attack, he said, lives were lost and the Capitol was damaged. "As we saw last night in the hearings, what happened on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, was an act of domestic terrorism," Rivera said.
Del Rio had made comments in social media posts earlier in the week, per the AP, in which he suggested the protests in the summer of 2020 after the police killing of George Floyd did not receive as much scrutiny as the Capitol riot. Rivera said the organization won't tolerate an attempt at equivalency between protests demanding justice and a riot seeking the overthrow of the government. Del Rio had apologized in a statement Wednesday, saying, "Referencing that situation as a dust-up was irresponsible and negligent and I am sorry."
Outside reaction included a call from the president of the NAACP for Del Rio to resign or be fired. Virginia's legislature dropped a bill until next year to provide the Commanders tax incentives to build a stadium there. A few legislators said that might have happened anyway, but Del Rio's comments added momentum. Most players didn't want to comment about Del Rio's situation, though some said they didn't expect it to divide the team. The $100,000 will go to the US Capitol Police Memorial Fund, per ESPN. More than 100 officers were hurt defending the Capitol, and five died in the aftermath of the attack. (Read more Capitol attack stories.)