Vic Fangio acknowledged that there are societal problems which have to be fixed, but he thinks the NFL is doing OK on the racism front.
And no, it was not well-received.
After a day of meetings with Broncos players and team president Joe Ellis to have the ever-popular dialogue about issues of race and police brutality, Fangio said he didn’t think the league had a discrimination problem.
“I think our problems in the NFL along those lines are minimal,” Fangio said, via Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com. “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 told reporters Tuesday when asked about his experiences in the league over the past four decades. “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.”
While those comments might have landed awkwardly — and the reality is many people in Fangio’s generation don’t see the problems because they literally don’t see it in their own day-to-day experience — the 61-year-old Fangio said he’s encouraged his players to protest, and noted the efforts of Broncos safety Justin Simmons.
“I thought it was great, Justin is a great person, a great leader, got his head screwed on correctly, he sees the problems and how they need to be solved,” Fangio said. “He’s searching for solutions and it’s easy for everybody to identify the problems . . . we need to search for solutions and I think Justin is one of those guys who will find solutions.”
Fangio also expressed the requisite emotions regarding George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis Police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes while be begged for air.
“I was shocked, sad and angry when I saw what the policeman do to a handcuffed George Floyd on his stomach that led to his death,” Fangio said. “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.”
That’s true. And so is allowing ourselves to be blind to the challenges of others.