In an embarrassing moment for the NFL, the Washington Commanders announced today that they are fining Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio $100,000 for comparing the events of January 6th to violence that erupted after the death of George Floyd in May 2020.
The announcement was immediately applauded by NFL reporters desperate to be the first to publicly proclaim their allegiance to the “correct” set of opinions:
Coach Ron Rivera has fined DC Jack Del Rio $100,000 for his troublesome and wrong comments. Significant. https://t.co/CrxgH2XL8T
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 10, 2022
Rapaport displays a key function of modern activism disguised as reporting – instead of expressing skepticism or scrutiny, sports writers approach each topic with the underlying assumption their opinions inarguably constitute the only acceptable set of beliefs.
Del Rio’s comments are “troublesome” and “wrong,” and therefore he deserves this “significant” response.
Rapaport and others like him could have approached the issue with nuance and objectivity, but this is simply the latest example of media personalities committed to maintaining unblemished allegiance to whatever The Current Thing demands.
So what did Del Rio actually say to justify such an extreme punishment?
People’s livelihoods are being destroyed, businesses are being burned down, no problem. 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.
Ironically, the statement released by the Commanders and head coach Ron Rivera essentially proves Del Rio’s point.
Rivera and the Commanders say they “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.”
They completely ignored the violence, destruction and lives lost during the rioting of summer 2020, instead implying that Del Rio compared January 6th with “peaceful protests.”
Except he did the opposite. He specifically referred to the businesses and livelihoods that were destroyed, not those peacefully marching and carrying signs. And he’s right; it was estimated that the rioting in 2020 would cost up to $2 billion, the most expensive damage in insurance history.
You can make the case that calling the events of January 6th a “dust up” may not have been the best choice of words, without misrepresenting reality and the context of his comparison. People did lose their lives during the riots in 2020, with one report placing the number at 25 or more. Rivera and the team glossed over that in their attempt to placate reporters like Rapaport.
Not to mention the absurdity of a football team being the arbiters of what equivalences should or should not be “tolerated.”
Bowing to the opinions of sports writers aside, the actual likely motivation for this fine was Del Rio’s crime of wrong think. He said something that upset the NAACP, and modern corporations like the Commanders live in perpetual fear of offending progressive activist institutions.
And of course, none of the parties involved seem to care that the violence and destruction that occurred in 2020 disproportionately affected black and minority owned businesses in major cities
The relevance or accuracy of his equivalence is ultimately irrelevant. The Commanders simply do not want to offend left wing organizations or media members, and by publicly slapping Del Rio with a “significant” punishment, they hope it’ll be enough to placate the mob.
But appeasement never works, and facts and accuracy still matter. The team and Rivera accomplished nothing today other than making it clear that they’re fine with misrepresentations and false equivalencies, as long as it comes from them.