Friday's NFL: Jack Del Rio fined $100K for comments about Capitol riot
Washington Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio has been fined $100,000 by the team for his comments about protests in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd and the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Coach Ron Rivera announced the fine in a statement Friday after meeting with Del Rio earlier in the day. He said Del Rio’s statements were hurtful to members of the local community and did not reflect the views of the organization.
Asked Wednesday about a social media post he made earlier in the week, Del Rio downplayed the deadly insurrection and questioned why the protests in the summer of 2020 after Floyd’s death were not receiving the same scrutiny. Del Rio called the Jan. 6, 2021, riot “a dust-up at the Capitol,” which he later apologized for.
“He understands the distinction between the events of that dark day and peaceful protests, which are a hallmark of our democracy,” Rivera said in the statement, adding that Del Rio had a constitutional right to voice his opinion. “Words have consequences and his words hurt a lot of people in our community. I want to make it clear that 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 Jan. 6 who sought to topple our government.”
Rivera said he feels strongly after their conversation that Del Rio “will have a greater understanding for the impact of his language and the values that our team stands for.” He said the money will be donated to the United States Capitol Police Memorial Fund.
Del Rio, 59, is going into his third season running Washington’s defense on Rivera’s staff and in that time has shared his conservative political views on social media numerous times. A Twitter post Monday night prompted questions to Del Rio after an offseason workout, including whether he was concerned about how his thoughts might go over with players, the majority of whom are Black.
“If they are and they want to talk about it, I’d talk about it with anybody,” Del Rio said. “No problem. At any time. But they’re not. I’m just expressing myself and I think we all as Americans have a right to express ourselves, especially if you’re being respectful. I’m being respectful.”
While the Commanders players asked about Del Rio’s remarks declined comment or brushed off their significance in the locker room, multiple Virginia lawmakers expressed concern about the team’s latest in a long line of offseason issues. On Thursday, Virginia’s legislature abandoned a bill that would have given the NFL club tax incentives to build a stadium in the state.
Del Rio’s comments were prompted by preparations for this week’s hearings by a House committee on the Jan. 6 riot. Lawmakers have presented evidence that former president Donald Trump knew he had lost the 2020 election but clung to his claims of election fraud and summoned the violent mob.
Renfrow's new deal
The Raiders have locked up another key player with a new contract, agreeing to a two-year, $32 million extension with Pro Bowl slot receiver Hunter Renfrow.
Renfrow was entering the final season of his rookie contract after being a fifth-round pick in 2019 and he got a big pay raise based on his breakthrough 2021 season.
Renfrow had 103 catches for 1,038 yards and nine TDs as he became quarterback Derek Carr’s most reliable target. The 103 catches were the third most in franchise history, trailing only Darren Waller’s 107 in 2020 and Hall of Famer Tim Brown’s 104 in 1997.
Renfrow has 208 catches for 2,299 yards and 15 TDs in his three seasons in the NFL.
Renfrow is the third key Raiders player to get an extension in the offseason under the new regime led by McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler. Carr signed a three-year, $120.5 million extension in April and edge rusher Maxx Crosby got a four-year, $94 million deal in March.
Renfrow joined New Orleans’ Michael Thomas as the only wide receivers in the past 13 seasons to catch at least 80% of their targets and have at least 100 catches in a season, according to Sportradar.
NFL Network first reported the deal Friday and said it includes $21 million in guarantees.
Panthers owner sued
South Carolina’s York County is suing Panthers owner David Tepper’s companies and the City of Rock Hill for at least $21 million over the failed completion of the team’s proposed $800 million practice facility and headquarters.
The structure remains half-built in Rock Hill, South Carolina, with no plans of being finished.
Tepper’s real estate company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware on June 2 after having invested more than $175 million into the facility. It is located about 25 miles south of the team’s current downtown stadium and headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Among Tepper’s companies named in the lawsuit are DT Sports Holding, LLC, Appaloosa Management LP and Tepper Sports Holding, Inc. York County officials say the purpose of the lawsuit is to protect the county and its taxpayers and recover damages caused by these defendants.
The complaint filed Thursday said Tepper and his companies took $21 million from a special penny sales tax intended to expand a road in York County and used the money for what the county’s lawyers called a “failed vanity project.”
“Rather than cover the ballooning project budget themselves, the Tepper Defendants took money from York County and its taxpayers,” the complaint said
The lawsuit asks for the $21 million of tax money York County said was improperly spent along with interest, any lost economic benefit from the failed project and any other damages a judge might see fit.
Spanos family lawsuit
Chargers controlling owner Dean Spanos has been accused of repeated breaches of fiduciary duty and misogynistic behavior in a lawsuit filed by his sister.
The filing escalates the ongoing battle among the four Spanos siblings over control of the franchise.
Dea Spanos Berberian filed a petition Thursday in San Joaquin County Superior Court seeking sole control of the family trust that has a 36% stake in the ownership of the Chargers. The lawsuit also asks the court to suspend and remove Dean Spanos as a co-trustee in the trust and for the disqualification of Michael Spanos as successor co-trustee.
Spanos and Berberian were left as co-trustees of the trust following the deaths of Alex and Faye Spanos in 2018.
Of the remaining 64% of the Chargers ownership stake, Spanos, Berberian, Alexandra Spanos Ruhl and Michael Spanos each own 15%. The remaining 4% is owned by non-family members.
Alex Spanos bought the San Diego Chargers in 1984 and Dean Spanos took over managing the franchise in 1994.
In the filing, Berberian accuses Michael and Dean Spanos of repeatedly acting “out of their deeply-held misogynistic attitudes and sense of entitlement as the men in the family.” It states that Dean and Michael “believe to their cores that, regardless of what their parents intended and their wills specified, men are in charge and women should shut up.”
According to the trust’s financial statements, debts totaled over $358 million as of Dec. 31, with debt service and expenses of at least $11 million per year. The trust’s stake in the Chargers makes up 83% of its holdings.
Forbes valued the Chargers at $2.6 billion in its recent franchise rankings. The trust’s share could be worth nearly $988 million.
Berberian has also accused Dean and Michael Spanos of borrowing over $60 million from the trust to buy an airplane and “deliberately” damaging her relationship with the pastor of her Greek Orthodox church.
Berberian filed a petition last March in Los Angeles County Superior Court seeking to have the court put the trust and team’s ownership stake up for sale. Berberian agreed earlier this week to have the matter heard before the NFL in arbitration.
Lawyers for ex-Raiders receiver Henry Ruggs are asking a judge to throw out evidence that prosecutors say shows Ruggs had a blood-alcohol level twice legal limit while speeding at 156 mph on a city street before a fiery crash that killed a woman last November.
In a court filing that effectively delayed a preliminary hearing of evidence, Ruggs’ defense team argues that police didn’t have a legal reason to ask a judge to authorize a warrant to obtain Ruggs’ blood.
Ruggs was hospitalized and no field sobriety test was performed at the crash scene to determine if he was impaired, the document said. It notes that a police officer asked his sergeant what to do without an impairment finding.
… Don Perkins, a six-time Pro Bowl running back with the Cowboys in the 1960s, has died. He was 84.
The NFL team and the University of New Mexico, where Perkins was a standout player before his professional career, said Perkins died Thursday. No cause of death was revealed.