After Getting Fined, Del Rio Deletes Twitter Account

Ron Rivera. No free speech for “hurtful” words

by James A. Bacon

Last week, Jack Del Rio, the defensive coordinator for the Washington Commanders (formerly known as the Redskins) created a mini-furor when he referred to the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol a “dust up.” His remark proved to be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, effectively killing (for now) a legislative initiative to create a special taxing authority for a Commanders football stadium in Virginia.

While Del Rio screwed up by minimizing the significance of the riot, I expressed worry in a column last week that the Commanders organization would be punished for a comment made not by the CEO but by an employee tweeting in his private capacity.

Well, the assault on free speech and free expression just got worse. Calling the events of Jan. 6 an “act of domestic terrorism,” head coach Ron Rivera fined Del Rio $100,000. The next day Del Rio deleted his Twitter account. In a groveling pander to critics, Rivera also described Del Rio’s comments as “extremely hurtful to our great community here” in the D.C./Maryland/Virginia area.

Nobody cares about “hurting” my feelings, and I don’t particularly care about the feelings of those who have filed and honed the exquisite delicacy of their own sensitivities into weaponized spear tips. But I’ll tell you what’s worrisome. It’s worrisome when you apply after-the-fact standards, never enforced before, to punish an employee for expressing his opinion in a private capacity. It’s worrisome when you describe the events of Jan. 6 — “an act of domestic terrorism” — that’s every bit as ill-considered as the comment you’re criticizing. “Domestic terrorism?” How many people did the Jan. 6 protesters kill?

I never had much respect for the Commanders organization to begin with. The football team has been a tax-sucking parasite for as long as I can remember. Now, in a desperate bid to revive his latest parasitic tax-sucking scheme, owner Dan Snyder has aligned himself ideologically with the Left and punished the expression of free speech. Reminder: the Washington Commanders football franchise is estimated to be worth $4 billion. 

Several points need to be made.

Rivera shouldn’t be casting stones. His characterization of Jan. 6 is as off-base as Del Rio’s. To be sure, the riot was a lot worse than a dust-up (in Del Rio’s words). It was a riot. Some participants in the riot had the express aim of disrupting the casting of electoral votes that would make Joe Biden president. But “domestic terrorism?” I’m sorry, terrorists kill people or hold them hostage. The protesters were violent, but they didn’t kill anyone. The vast majority, in fact, were peaceful. In that sense — and it was the sense of Del Rio’s tweet — Jan. 6 is very aptly compared to the “mostly peaceful protests” of the summer of 2020.

Rivera does not believe the comparison is valid. “Lives were lost,” he said. Yes, indeed they were. Ashli Babbitt was fatally shot by a Capitol Police officer. Rosanne Boyland appeared to have been crushed in a stampede. One protester died of a heart attack, and another died of a stroke. There is no justification for the rioters’ actions, and those who engaged in violence should be tried and punished. But a dozen or more people died in the 2020 “mostly peaceful protests” — I don’t think anyone has made an exact count. Plus, countless numbers were injured, and property damage has been estimated as much as $2 billion.

The difference between the mostly peaceful protesters in the summer of 2020 and those of Jan. 6, Rivera contends, is that the aims of the George Floyd protesters were noble while those of the Jan. 6 rioters were not. “Our organization will not tolerate any equivalency between those who demanded justice in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the actions of those on January 6 who sought to topple our government.”

But Del Rio wasn’t drawing equivalency between motives. He was drawing equivalency between actions. Here’s how Del Rio explained his tweet the day after: “What did I ask? A simple question: Why are we not looking into those things? … I see the images on TV, people’s livelihoods are being destroyed, businesses are being burned down—no problem.”

Millions of other Americans are asking the exact same questions. Millions of Americans agree that there are two sets of standards — one for those aligned with the political/media class and another for the peasants with torches and pitchforks. Likewise, millions of Americans take note that people, like Del Rio, who express views like theirs get punished and suppressed, while those on the Left rarely do.

Rivera conceded that Del Rio “does have the right to voice his opinion as a citizen of the United States and it most certainly is his constitutional right to do so. However, words have consequences and his words hurt a lot of people in our community.”

This is the old words-have-consequences argument — the First Amendment protects against government censorship, not private ostracism or retribution. That is true, as far as it goes. But Americans have long tolerated the right of people to say disagreeable things. When the little people disagree with those in power today, however, their words are branded “disinformation” or outside the bounds of allowable discourse, and simply suppressed. The suppression flows one way. The voices being suppressed almost always are conservative.

If the Washington Commanders are any indication, Corporate America is lining up with the Political Class and media elite because that’s where the power is. If you aren’t frightened by this, you should be.

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37 responses to “After Getting Fined, Del Rio Deletes Twitter Account”

  1. Lefty665 Avatar

    Thank you JAB, you’ve got this one right on the nose.

    I’d had some respect for Rivera and hopes that he was the face of a new era. But no more. He’s right down there with Snyder, Allen, et al.

    Make them stay in that aging monstrosity of a stadium in Maryland, covering ever more empty seats until the last fan disappears like the Cheshire Cat.

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    Wait. An employee who makes a public statement that his employer doesn’t like – has never been sanctioned ?

    First time ever?

    “free speech”?

    “consequence free – free speech”?

    somewhere along the rail , Conservatives have jumped the tracks on “free speech” these days.

    Pretty sure this has happened before and the results were similar except in those days no one was claiming their ‘free speech” was being suppressed.

  3. Randy Huffman Avatar
    Randy Huffman

    The summer of ’20 riots were about a lot more than marching in protest about Mr. Floyd’s murder. As an example, the Federal Courthouse in Portland was attacked night after night for a long time, here is an example of one report. This is clearly an assault on our Government that was ignored by many.

    Of course, only a finite number of people who were protesting in Portland would have engaged in this attack on the courthouse. But the same is true on the number of people who may have just walked through the open gate on January 6 and wandered in.

    As to football, I wouldn’t plan on betting Washington will be having a good team this year.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      Did they break into the Courthouse while it was in session threatening to hang the judge?

      apples to apples?

      1. Randy Huffman Avatar
        Randy Huffman

        Seriously, that is your response? Did you pay attention to that attack, they came with bricks and firebombs at night (no, not while they were in session). It was horrible and it was an attack on our government. And this is only one of many instances.

        If you want to look back as to the most recent threat made of a Judge’s life, just look last week at Judge Kavanaugh. Is that apples to apples enough for you?

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          yep, it was a riot – like riots we’ve seen before but not breaking into a govt building while in session beating up police and threatening to hang leaders.

          again – threaten Kavanaugh – many times done before but break into SCOTUS while in session .. and threaten to hang the judges?


          1. Randy Huffman Avatar
            Randy Huffman

            Re-posted as a twitter link could not get though, so I deleted, it was posted by Andy Ngo, that showed the actual assault against eh white house by an angry mob.

            The January 6 rioters got in because there was not enough security, whose fault was that?

            Good thing security was good enough in May of 2020 at the White House.



            One article headline said they threated to lynch Trump, but I could not open it because I was not a subscriber.

            These are ALL assaults on our Democracy. The scariest part for me is you, and so many on the Left and in the Media, are too blindly polarized to see it!

          2. LarrytheG Avatar

            fault? geeze… no

            I say Jan 6 was fundamentally different from other riots/unrest in that they went after legislators and it would be the same if yahoos broke into SCOTUS while in session or the WH.

            That’s different than riots in the streets and “attacking” buildings.

            We’ve had riots for a long time and not once have I heard them characterized as ‘assaults on our Democracy” because they were not.

            methinks you’re also being selective in your reading….


          3. Randy Huffman Avatar
            Randy Huffman

            This is my last post on this.

            First, I am not happy with how Trump acted before and during Januay6, so I am not here to defend him.

            Second, yes, the riots by a number of people were horrible on January 6, but many people just were walking through the Capital. Have you not seen those video’s? There was one series of how people stayed within the ropes as they walked from room to room!

            But when it comes to the Security question on January 6, that responsibility was 100% on the Democratic leadership, a point the Left is trying to sweep under the rug. Have you not heard the thousands of reports that Trump approved the National Guard, and it was rejected by Pelosi and Democratic leadership? Here is one of many articles.


          4. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
            Dick Hall-Sizemore

            Because the Republicans were still in the majority in the Senate on Jan. 6, Sen. McConnell shared responsibility for security at the Capitol. Therefore, the responsibility was not 100 percent on the Democratic leadership.

          5. LarrytheG Avatar

            it’s not the truth at all. It’s been thoroughly debunked;



            These guys believe sources like Brietbart and FOX which are notorious for basically misrepresenting the truth.

            all one needs to do to verify the truth is key into GOOGLE: “did pelosi reject trumps offer of national guard?” and you’ll get all of it – both sides media reporting and one can decide for themselves who is lying.

          6. Randy Huffman Avatar
            Randy Huffman

            I said I would stop but want to briefly respond to you and Larry.

            1) Larry, I never said Trump requested National Guard, I said it was reported he approved it. Lots of articles BOTH ways, so this is not debunked.

            2) Dick, from what I can tell in reading articles, I believe you are right, so retract my statement security was 100% on Democratic Leadership. I should have looked harder at this before making that statement.

            I wish this security questions would be investigated, but given that the January 6 commission is totally one sided, the two Republicans were appointed by Pelosi and she rejected the Republican Leadership appointees, this commission has no independent credibility.

          7. LarrytheG Avatar

            so maybe I’m misunderstanding this quote:

            ” Have you not heard the thousands of reports that Trump approved the National Guard, and it was rejected by Pelosi and Democratic leadership? Here is one of many articles.


            and you cite breitbart which is not exactly a credible source and simple searches identify quite a few middle-ground credible sites that say otherwise.

            So you said this and I took it to mean that you were saying that it was true that Trump tried to deploy the NG and Pelosi rejected it”.

            not true?

          8. Randy Huffman Avatar
            Randy Huffman

            Breitbart is certainly no more or less credible than USA Today, get real.

            Breitbart’s article, had the following, which is similar to what I have seen at multiple other outlets:

            “Neither Cheney nor Milley ever mentioned that during a January 3, 2021, meeting at the White House, the president said to give D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser the National Guard support she needed, according to then-Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller’s testimony under oath to Congress on May 2021. ”

            So this needs to be dug into more. Lets get the facts, not cry “debunked” and bury it.

          9. LarrytheG Avatar

            sorry Breitbart is not credible. And more than a dozen other media have fact-checked the claim and found it false.

            how about you name some other outlets who reported on this that you find credible?

            Why would media like USA Today lie about this in the first place?

            Do you think Chris Miller is a credible source ? Do others corroborate what he has said?

            Isn’t this going to come out even more – now?

            The whole point here is NOT that Pelosi refused help and thus is the blame.

            That’s patently false and folks that make that claim – what is their motive for saying that in the first place?

          10. LarrytheG Avatar

            most of these sites are not original reporting, they are referring to this link:


            what is the provenance of this report?

            where is the authoritative source link for the timeline?

            Have you seen this:



          11. Randy Huffman Avatar
            Randy Huffman

            Original reporting? The NY Times likes to pretend they did Original Reporting, but those days are gone. Everyone in the MSM repeats talking points, it’s mind boggling.

            I’m done digging. We will see what comes out if there is ever a true in depth investigation.

  4. DJRippert Avatar

    Dan Snyder is another Joe Biden type wingnut. A guy who never, ever can admit he made a mistake. Yet the long litany of mistakes is unmistakeable. They are both clowns who will forever blame others for their failures and seek to deflect attention from their own shortcomings.

    This whole Jack Del Rio matter is just a case in point.

    Snyder’s organization is a racist, sexist ****show. But they will try to make amends by now claiming wokeness. Where have I heard that before? Maybe some yo-yo who was photographed in blackface standing next to his date in a klan outfit?

    Snyder needs to go. For many, many reasons.

    However, until that happens, the best that can happen is to bleed the bastard dry. No state funding. No local funding. No more going to games. Let the little ass-clown slowly starve.

    Chap Petersen was right – the Washington Redskins / Football Team / Commanders are no longer a viable NFL franchise.

  5. Jim, Jim . . . The Skin-’em-Red organization lost political momentum due to an insensitive statement by a senior, media-savvy employee at an even-more sensitive moment for the organization financially and decided to take its pique out on said senior employee who, arguably, should have known better (and, incidentally, has a salary that more than mitigates this injustice). Or maybe it’s less the organization and just Rivera saying to his boss, “Look, I’m a true Commander, I’ve dealt with it.” Whatever — Dan Snyder parting ways with Virginia is not going to make me lose any sleep over the consequences.

    Yes, it’s offensive to notions of free speech, here, because perhaps some folks who happen to agree with Del Rio are friends of yours — but he is the organization’s “defensive coordinator” so he should be able to deal with such an offense.

  6. Eric the half a troll Avatar
    Eric the half a troll

    “But I’ll tell you what’s worrisome. It’s worrisome when you apply after-the-fact standards, never enforced before, to punish an employee for expressing his opinion in a private capacity.”

    I am sure Kathy Griffin appreciates your belated support.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      “private capacity” … that must be some sort of special free-speech thing that immunizes you when you say it in front of cameras and reporters?

      And apparently JAB has never heard of getting fired for making a ‘private” statement on Social Media either.

      JAB wants “consequence-free” free speech…. 😉

    2. DJRippert Avatar

      Who fined Kathy Griffen $100,000?

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        fired? Better to fire Del Rio instead?

        1. DJRippert Avatar

          Another irrelevant response from Mr Irrelevant.

      2. Eric the half a troll Avatar
        Eric the half a troll

        She lost her job…

  7. YellowstoneBound1948 Avatar

    The Denver Broncos have been sold for about $5.5 billion. I honestly do not know why Snyder doesn’t sell his team or move it to Birmingham or San Antonio. He would get his tax breaks and his dome, too. Some of the people posting here will say, “Let Them Go,” but that is taking an extremely narrow, short view. The NFL is the nation’s most popular sports franchise, and it has tens of millions of followers worldwide. Washingtonians (including the suburbs) would mourn the departure of their NFL team. Just ask Cleveland’s fan base, after their perennial cellar-dweller Browns moved to Baltimore. They were left without a team for a number of years, and the State of Ohio mourned. If we could be a little less smug here, we might be more able to admit that the loss of the local NFL team would affect the lives of many.

  8. YellowstoneBound1948 Avatar

    About that dust-up, kerfuffle, riot, insurrection: Has anyone here ever said robbery, when they really meant burglary, larceny, or theft? Were you fined by your employer?

    Do you remember some twenty years ago when that (white) member of the D.C. Metro Council (or whatever it was called) referred to the annual budget as “niggardly”? He lost his job. It didn’t matter that this was a perfectly good word (no longer used). Not even the Gay lobby, which was not as powerful then, could save him.

    Del Rio misfired, but who hasn’t? Both the Left and the Right should be worried.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      well, it coulda been worse, he could have said that Antifa did it with the FBI coordinating…. 😉

  9. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead

    Del Rio was once arch enemy number 1 of the Redskins. When he played for the Cowboys he could shut down the running game of Earnest Byner. A tenacious linebacker who had a knack for fumble recoveries.

  10. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    He simply misspoke, like uh, oh say, Earl Butz.

  11. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    Ah, the traditional complaint that conservative views are the ones mostly being suppressed and punished when aired. Two responses: 1. The Disney Co. would certainly dispute this. 2. A recent study of “faculty members who were fired, resigned, or demoted/denied promotion due to speech deemed political” from 2015 to 2017 found that most such incidents occurred in 2017 and the clear majority were due to liberal speech.

    Expressing one’s personal views should not be sanctioned, but both sides of the political spectrum engage in doing so.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      Free Speech has never been consequence free nor is it guaranteed in non-govt forums or even in govt locations, even public locations.

      For some time now, many employers, Govt and Corporate do background checks to see what you’ve said publicly and on social media.

      An hypothetical example – Would Virginia Dept of Corrections hire a Dick Sizemore if he had expressed negative views towards Virginia Corrections policies in public forums prior to applying for a job? Or even after having gotten the job, if he publicly disagree with policy, would he be guaranteed no consequences?

      Yes, you have the right. No, you’re not guaranteed of no consequences.

      Never has been a guarantee but now, it seems, more and more, that Conservative types take extreme positions on a variety of issues.

  12. LarrytheG Avatar

    If one believes the RTD and I realize some do not – the decision on the stadium has little to do with Del Rio;

    1. Super Brain Avatar
      Super Brain

      Gov Youngkin will go down in history as Gov Giveaway.

  13. Ruckweiler Avatar

    Had been a Redskins fan since ’63 but stopped with pro football when the knee protests started and grew. Let Snyder pay for a new stadium and facilities himself as I’m long fed up subsidizing billionaires and millionaires in any pro sport.

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