Against the backdrop of the nationwide protests over George Floyd’s death, Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio said Tuesday that he doesn’t think discrimination is a problem in the NFL.
— Michael Spencer (@MichaelCBS4) June 2, 2020
“I think our problems in the NFL along those lines are minimal,” Fangio said in a digital news conference. “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.”
Fangio’s thoughts on George Floyd
Fangio also addressed Floyd’s homicide directly, condemning Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin, who faces third-degree murder charges after kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes in the moments before his death.
“I was shocked, sad and angry when I saw what the policemen did to a handcuffed George Floyd on his stomach that led to his death,” Fangio said in a prepared statement per the Denver Post. “He should be punished to the fullest extent of the law for the crimes he has been charged with, in addition to being charged with treason for failing to uphold the badge of the uniform he was entrusted with.”
He also believes that Floyd’s death represented an isolated case of police brutality.
“The Minnesota cop failed the 99 percent of police that do a great job, and we are all paying a price for that,” Fangio said.
Fangio, 61, is approaching his second season as the head coach of the Broncos. Fangio got his first opportunity as a head coach in the NFL last season after working as a defensive coordinator in the league since 1995.
NFL’s challenges on race
Like elsewhere, the NFL faces a constant struggle in dealing with race relations. Just last month, the NFL modified the Rooney Rule intended to address racial disparities in hiring in a league where 70 percent of the players are black and 28 of the 32 head coaches are white.
In an effort to promote more minority candidates to management and executive positions, the league now requires teams with head coaching vacancies to interview two minority candidates for the job. Teams are also required to consider minority and female candidates for senior-level front office positions like club president.
The Floyd protests have shone new light on the Colin Kaepernick protests, which former NFL executive Joe Lockhart recently admitted led to the end of his career.
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