As the Washington Commanders opened mandatory minicamp Tuesday, coach Ron Rivera addressed the $100,000 fine handed down to defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio last week.
"I told him the decision was I was going to fine him $100,000 and we were going to move forward with this," Rivera said. "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 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."
Rivera fined Del Rio after the DC's Twitter comments 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 "dust-up." Over the weekend, Del Rio deleted his Twitter account.
Rivera said Tuesday that the defensive coordinator spoke to the team ahead of minicamp.
"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 Washington's defensive coordinator since Rivera took over the team in 2020.