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3 Jun, 2020 09:23

'I don't see racism at all in the NFL': Denver head coach Vic Fangio says American Football sets a good example for US society

'I don't see racism at all in the NFL': Denver head coach Vic Fangio says American Football sets a good example for US society

Amid the heightened situation regarding police brutality against people of color in the United States, Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio says the NFL actually functions better than general society in terms of racial equality.

The Broncos boss spoke to reporters on a conference call Tuesday, where he talked down the presence of racism within the league, suggesting it was a much larger problem across society as a whole than it is within the confines of the league itself.

"I think our problems in the NFL along those lines are minimal," he said.

"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 live in a great atmosphere. Like I alluded to earlier, we're lucky. 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."

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Fangio, who is currently preparing to welcome back his players to the Broncos' training facility ahead of the 2020 NFL season, also spoke out against the police treatment of George Floyd, who died in police custody, sparking widespread protests.

"I was shocked, sad and angry when I saw what the policeman (did) to a handcuffed George Floyd on his stomach that led to his death," he 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.

"The Minnesota cop failed the 99 percent of the police that do a great job, and we are all paying a price for that. I've listened to many people talk the past few days.

"The one that resonated with me the most was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He also recognized that 98-99 percent of the police do a tremendous job in tough situations and we must do all we can to correct the small percentage that don't do a great job on a daily basis. Kareem was one person talking sensibly and with solutions. This is not a political issue."

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Fangio also paid tribute to one of his own players, Broncos safety Justin Simmons, who spoke at a peaceful protest held in Stuart, Florida, near the player's home town.

"I thought it was great," Fangio said.

"Justin is a great person, a great leader and has his head screwed on correctly. He sees the problems and how they need to be solved. He's doing it peacefully and he's searching for solutions.

"It's easy for everybody to identify the problems – we all know the problems – but we need to search for solutions. I think that Justin is one of those guys that will help us find solutions and lead us out of this mess that we're in."

Almost 70% of the NFL's players are African American, but the league only has three African American head coaches: Miami's Brian Flores, Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin and Los Angeles Chargers' Anthony Lynn. Meanwhile, there is only one Latino head coach, Washington's Ron Rivera.

In a bid to improve prospects for minorities, the NFL announced changes to their "Rooney Rule" which requires teams to interview minority candidates for major coaching roles. The league is also considering incentivizing teams that hire minority coaches by awarding additional draft picks.

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