Vic Fangio sees racism as a problem in society as a whole, but not so much in the NFL.
The Denver Broncos head coach, talking Tuesday on a video conference call, spoke out in favor of societal changes in the wake of George Floyd’s death. He then went on to defend the NFL’s record on race.
Asked about the evolution of player activism during his NFL career, Fangio said, “I don’t know that it’s changed a whole lot, to be honest with you. I haven’t seen a great, great change other than — I just don’t think there’s been a tremendous change, and I don’t say that to be negative.
“I think our problems in the NFL along those lines are minimal. We’re a league of meritocracy. You earn what you get, you get what you earn.
“I don’t see racism at all in the NFL. I don’t see discrimination in the NFL. We live in a great atmosphere. Like I alluded to earlier, we’re lucky. We all live together joined as one for one common goal, and we all intermingle and mix tremendously. If society reflected an NFL team, we’d all be great.”
Fangio had said earlier on the call that he “was shocked, sad and angry when I saw what the policeman (did) to a handcuffed George Floyd on his stomach that led to his death. He should be punished to the full extent of the law of the crimes he was charged with in addition to being charged with treason for failing to uphold the badge and uniform he was entrusted with … It’s a societal issue that we all have to join in to correct.”
He added, “The Minnesota cop failed the 99 percent of the police that do a great job, and we are all paying a price for that. I’ve listened to many people talk the past few days.
“The one that resonated with me the most was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He also recognized that 98-99 percent of the police do a tremendous job in tough situations and we must do all we can to correct the small percentage that don’t do a great job on a daily basis. Kareem was one person talking sensibly and with solutions. This is not a political issue.”
Fangio also offered his support for Broncos safety Justin Simmons, who spoke at a peaceful protest on Sunday in Stuart, Fla., close to his hometown of Port Salerno, Fla.
“I thought it was great,” Fangio said. “Justin is a great person, a great leader and has his head screwed on correctly. He sees the problems and how they need to be solved. He’s doing it peacefully and he’s searching for solutions.
“It’s easy for everybody to identify the problems — we all know the problems — but we need to search for solutions. I think that Justin is one of those guys that will help us find solutions and lead us out of this mess that we’re in.”
According to multiple media reports, nearly 70 percent of NFL players last season were African American. The league currently has three African American head coaches — the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin, the Los Angeles Chargers’ Anthony Lynn and the Miami Dolphins’ Brian Flores — plus one Latino head coach, the Washington Redskins’ Ron Rivera.
Last month, the NFL announced changes to the “Rooney Rule” that requires teams to interview minority candidates for head-coaching and top front-office positions, adding to the number of applicants who must be considered. The league tabled a proposal to offer draft-pick incentives for teams that hire minority head coaches or general managers.
—Field Level Media