The Denver Broncos head coach, Vic Fangio, has faced a backlash from players after saying he does not see racism as a problem in the NFL.
Fangio, who has coached in the league since 1986, was asked about racism in the NFL in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd.
“I think our problems in the NFL along those lines are minimal,” said the 61-year-old. “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 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.”
Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson tweeted a video of Fangio’s comments and called the coach “a joke”. Carson’s teammate Quandre Diggs tweeted: “Is he blind??”
Others on social media pointed to the fact that Colin Kaepernick has been exiled from the league for protesting against the racial injustice and police brutality that led to the death of Floyd last week. Meanwhile, the NFL is struggling to persuade teams to recruit minority coaches in a league in which the majority of players are black. There were eight NFL head coaches from a minority background in 2018, now there are four.
On Tuesday, Fangio spoke about his own sadness and anger at the death of Floyd and said he encouraged his players to protest over the killing. “It’s a societal issue that we all have to join in to correct,” Fangio said.
Elsewhere, Kaepernick’s close friend and former teammate, Eric Reid, criticized the San Francisco 49ers for participating in the Blackout Tuesday movement. “I think you meant Blackball Tuesday … I digress,” Reid said.
The 49ers are the last team Kaepernick played for. Reid also called out the Texans, Cardinals, Falcons and Bears for their posts.