Rivera explains Del Rio fine; Commanders move forward

Jack Del Rio
Posted at 9:07 PM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 21:07:10-04

ASHBURN, VA (WTKR)- Ron Rivera is ready to put this Jack Del Rio situation behind him. He hopes Monday is a big step towards that.

Rivera explained his decision to fine his defensive coordinator $100,000 for his comments comparing the January 6 Capitol riots to the protests following George Floyd's death in 2020. The head coach said this is not about limiting anybody's free speech, rather handling the effect that speech had on his football team.

"This is about the impact that was made on our football team, the distraction it has become," Rivera noted prior to Tuesday's minicamp practice. "That'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."

He also said that he's read the First Amendment several times in the last few days and has familiarized himself with the Second Amendment as well.

Del Rio addressed the team during a meeting on Tuesday morning. While the Commanders plan to keep those discussions private, Rivera seems satisfied by what he's seen and heard in the immediate aftermath.

"He was very open, very forthright, very contrite and apologized and opened himself up to questions," Rivera said. "He has already met with some of our players and talked with some of them about what was said and I've been told those meetings went very very well."

"I think everybody appreciates Jack and what he said to the team," added tight end Logan Thomas. "Obviously that's something we want to keep in-house. It was good of him just to stand up there and talk to us."

"I'm not really worried about anything," safety Kam Curl said. "We're just really focused on football in this building. We took care of it in-house so that's really how we're going to keep it for real."

Rivera's concern stretched beyond the locker room. The head coach emphasized that Del Rio's comments were felt in the Washington community, the city for which the team plays.

"We have to make sure the community understands that we understand and we get it. That's important," Rivera stated. "This was really about taking accountability, holding ourselves accountable and then going forward, trying reconciling with things."

The head coach and Del Rio met on Friday when Rivera handed down the fine and then again this morning to discuss how to address the team. The defensive coordinator deleted his Twitter account on Saturday, an act Rivera said was voluntary and not required.

The Commanders continue their minicamp through Thursday, the team's last on-field work together until training camp opens at the end of July.