Comedian and talk show host Bill Maher took aim at the Washington Commanders organization this weekend in response to their decision to fine defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio $100,000 for expressing his opinion on Twitter.
Two weeks ago, Del Rio took to Twitter to ask why Congress was interested in holding hearings over the January 6 Capitol riots but did not seem interested at all in holding hearings on the months of violent BLM-led riots in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing.
Del Rio sought to explain his tweet to reporters the following week.
“I see the images on TV, people’s livelihoods are being destroyed. Businesses are being burned down,” Del Rio said in a since-deleted tweet. “No problem. And then we have a dust-up at the Capitol, where nothing burned down. And we’re going to make that a major deal.”
The media honed in on Del Rio’s characterization of the January 6 riot as a “dust-up” and launched a social media campaign against the coach, ultimately culminating in the Commanders publicly blasting Del Rio in a lengthy statement and fining him $100,000.
— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) June 10, 2022
In the statement, the Commanders noted 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.”
A statement that prompted Maher to say, “Don’t pee on my shoes and tell me it’s raining.”
HBO’s @BillMaher denounces $100,000 fine on Jack Del Rio. “He has a right to be wrong….Fining people for an opinion. I’m not down with that.” Re coach Ron Rivera saying he has constitutional right to voice his opinion, “Don’t pee on my shoe and tell me it’s raining.” #RealTime pic.twitter.com/o4yAc1grdJ
— Brent Baker 🇺 (@BrentHBaker) June 18, 2022
“He has the right to be wrong,” Maher said. “In America, you have the right to be wrong. They fined him, the team fined him, $100,000 for this opinion. Fining people for an opinion. I am not down with that.”
Maher’s opinion used to be established fact. A person’s opinion could be entirely wrong, yet the person still had a right to express it. The Del Rio situation shows the terrifying turn our culture has taken in that a person, a coach, in this case, cannot express a personal opinion without getting fined by his employer.
At first, it seemed that Del Rio was fined for his characterization of the 1/6 riot as a “dust-up.” However, after reading the Commanders’ statement, it becomes abundantly clear that he was punished for his opinion on comparing the 1/6 hearing to the Floyd riots. Otherwise, why would the organization say they would “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.”
The statement made it clear they were punishing Del Rio for his opinion, not merely calling the 1/6 riot a “dust-up.”
Del Rio deleted his Twitter account after the fine was announced.