Broncos coach Vic Fangio: 'I don't see racism at all in the NFL'

Chuck Schilken
LA Times
Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio says he doesn't see discrimination in the NFL. <span class="copyright">(Jack Dempsey / Associated Press)</span>
Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio says he doesn't see discrimination in the NFL. (Jack Dempsey / Associated Press)

Vic Fangio made a couple of observations Tuesday that might not sit well with those who think Colin Kaepernick has been blackballed by the NFL for protesting police brutality or find it unusual that only four of the league's 32 head coaches are people of color.

"I don't see racism at all in the NFL," the Denver Broncos head coach said Tuesday. "I don't see discrimination in the NFL."

Here's some context. Speaking to reporters for the first time since the death of George Floyd, Fangio opened by reading a statement condemning the actions of Derek Chauvin, the white officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for at least eight minutes. Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

"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," Fangio said. "It's a societal issue that we all have to join in to correct."

Fangio also praised the actions of Broncos safety Justin Simmons, who addressed the crowd during a protest in Stuart, Fla.

"We need to search for solutions, and I think Justin is one of those guys who will find solutions," Fangio said.

At one point, Fangio was asked about any changes he's seen in player activism during his three-plus decades as a coach in the NFL. It was within his answer to that question that Fangio offered his view on racism in the league.

"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."

Two members of the Seattle Seahawks retweeted portions of Fangio's comments and expressed their disapproval.

"This man a joke," running back Chris Carson wrote.

"Is he blind??" cornerback Quandre Diggs tweeted.

The league took steps this off-season to strengthen the Rooney Rule, which is designed to enhance opportunities for minority candidates to be hired as head coaches and general managers and for other jobs.

Beginning in 2021, all clubs will be required to interview at least two minority candidates outside the organization for head coach vacancies, and at least one minority candidate for available openings at coordinator, senior football operations or general manager. Clubs also are required to include minority and/or female candidates when it comes to interviewing for senior front office positions.

Kaepernick started a movement in 2016 by refusing to stand during the national anthem to protest social injustice. He hasn't been able to land a job in the league since 2017.

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