Fangio apologizes for saying there’s no racism in the NFL

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Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio apologized for suggesting that discrimination and racism were not a problem in the NFL.

“After reflecting on my comment yesterday and listening to the players this morning I realized that what I said about racism and discrimination in the NFL was wrong,” Fangio said in an apology he posted on the team via Twitter on Wednesday.

“While I’ve never experienced those terrible things firsthand during my 33 years in the NFL, I understand that many players, coaches, and staff have another perspective,” he added. “I should have been clearer and I’m sorry.”

Fangio indicated that all he sought was to express his experience that these evils do not exist in the locker room or on the pitch, where team members have a common goal.

“Unfortunately we don’t live or work only in those confines,” Fangio said. “Outside of those lines—both in the NFL and in society—there is a lot of work to be done in the areas of diversity and opportunity in all areas for minorities.”

He concluded his long apology by saying, “I look forward to listening to players—individually and collectively—to support them and work hand-in-hand to create meaningful change.”

Fangio, a 61-year-old white coach, faced a backlash on social media. Some criticisms noted that he had been insensitive with his comments, broadcast Tuesday during a press conference.

The safety of the Seattle Seahawks Quandre Diggs wrote on Twitter: “Are you blind?” and fellow broker Chris Carson said Fangio “was a joke.” Diggs and Carson are black.

Famer Tony Dungy said on ESPN’s “Golic and Wingo” program that while he agreed with Fangio’s vision for NFL meritocracy on the pitch, the league was not immune to society’s ills.

“To say there is no racism or no problem is not recognizing the situation,” Dungy stressed.

Faced with the question of the evolution of player activism in the face of racial injustice and police abuses against minorities, Fangio replied, “I think the NFL’s problem in that area is minimal. We’re a merit league. You earn what you’ve got. I don’t see racism in the NFL, I don’t see discrimination in the NFL. We live in a great environment.”

His critics said his comment ignores the lack of minorities in positions of head coaches, managers and team presidents, as well as the inability of quarterback Colin Kaepernick to get a job in the NFL.

Black Kaepernick led a protest in 2016, kneeling during the national anthem, to draw attention to social injustices and unwarranted police violence against minorities.



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