Washington assistant Del Rio apologises to team

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A week after calling the United States Capitol insurrection a 'dust-up,' Washington Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio apologised to his team on Tuesday before they opened their three-day mandatory minicamp.

Commanders coach Ron Rivera said the apology was "well-received" and Del Rio met individually with several players to further address his comments.

"Jack spoke to the team this morning during the team meeting and was very open and contrite and apologised and was open to questions," Rivera said.

"He said, 'Guys, if you have any questions come see me and let's talk about that.' It was good. I'm about reconciliation."

Del Rio created a stir last week when he compared on social media the protests following the police killing of George Floyd and the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The 59-year-old Del Rio, who had regularly posted conservative opinions to his Twitter account, then defended his tweet when asked about it following an offseason practice.

''People's livelihoods are being destroyed, businesses are being burned down, no problem,'' Del Rio said last Wednesday.

''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.''

Rivera fined Del Rio $100,000 last week, and said Tuesday the fine was issued because the comments created a distraction for the team.

"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."

Del Rio also apologised in a written statement last week despite also saying he stood by what he said.

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