NFL Doesn't Have a Racism Problem, Says Denver Broncos Head Coach Vic Fangio

Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio believes racism isn't a problem in the NFL and that it would be great if "society reflected an NFL team."

In the past, the 61-year-old has publicly supported the Rooney Rule, which aims to increase the number of minority candidates interviewed for head-coaching positions in the league, but maintained the NFL did not suffer from the racial divide that plagued other aspects of American society.

"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," Fangio told reporters on Tuesday when asked whether he felt racial discrimination was an issue in the league, as per ESPN.

"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."

Over the last week, a growing number of NFL players and executives have joined their NBA, MLB and NHL counterparts in demanding an end to police brutality and racial discrimination after the death of George Floyd.

An African American man, Floyd died while in custody of the Minneapolis Police Department on May 25. His death sparked widespread protests across the U.S. after videos emerged of a white police officer kneeling on his neck for almost 10 minutes while arresting him. In the video, the victim can be heard saying he's unable to breathe and pleading with officers, before seemingly losing consciousness.

Fangio said he thinks Derek Chauvin, the officer who knelt over Floyd, should be charged with treason.

"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," he explained.

"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."

Chauvin was fired last week and has since been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Over the weekend,NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also added his voice to the chorus of those demanding justice for Floyd.

"These tragedies inform the NFL's commitment and our ongoing efforts," he said in a statement. "There remains an urgent need for action. We recognize the power of our platform in communities and as part of the fabric of American society."

His words brought the league's stance over racial discrimination back into the spotlight and his own stance was widely panned in some quarters as critics pointed to the NFL's handling of Colin Kaepernick's peaceful protests four years ago.

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback became a global icon when he first knelt during the national anthem in 2016 to protest against police brutality and racial discrimination. The gesture split the public opinion, prompting President Donald Trump to urge teams to fire players who joined the protests.

Kaepernick last played professional football in 2016 before becoming a free agent and he subsequently sued the 32 NFL owners accusing them of colluding to deliberately keep him out of the league.

The NFL and the former Nevada alumni eventually reached an undisclosed settlement in February last year, before the league surprisingly organized a tryout for the former Nevada alumni, at the Atlanta Falcons' training facility, inviting all 32 franchises to attend.

Kaepernick, however, moved the workout to a high school stadium approximately 50 miles away at the last minute, maintaining he had done so to ensure media could attend.

A month later, Goodell said the league had "moved on" from Kaepernick.

Vic Fangio, Denver Broncos
Vic Fangio, head coach of the Denver Broncos, on the sideline during a game against the Oakland Raiders at Empower Field at Mile High on December 29, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. Dustin Bradford/Getty