‘I don’t see racism at all in the NFL,’ Denver Broncos head coach says

Denver Broncos

DENVER, CO – AUGUST 19: Head coach Vic Fangio of the Denver Broncos looks on during the third quarter of a preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on August 19, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

 (CNN) — Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio told reporters Tuesday he doesn’t believe racism and discrimination are issues in the NFL.

“I think our problems in the NFL along those lines are minimal,” Fangio 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,” Fangio added. “… 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.”

Fangio’s comments came as demonstrators reached their eighth day of protests over the death of George Floyd in police custody. Fangio called Floyd’s death a “societal issue that we all have to join in to correct.”

Of the 32 teams in the NFL, just four have a nonwhite head coach. Of the five head coaching vacancies in the offseason, just one was filled by a nonwhite person when Ron Rivera, who is Hispanic, was hired by Washington. Just two of the current general managers are minorities.

The NFL has been criticized for its response to former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem over the 2016 season to protest police brutality and racial injustice. When Kaepernick became a free agent in 2017, no team offered him a contract and he accused team owners of colluding to keep him from being signed.

On May 19, the NFL announced implementation of enhanced diversity policies and an expansion of the Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview a minority coach whenever there is a head coach opening.

Now, clubs will be required to interview at least two minority candidates for head coach vacancies; at least one minority candidate for any of the three coordinator vacancies; and at least one external minority candidate for the senior football operations or general manager position.

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Minority and female applicants must also be included in the interview processes for senior level front office positions such as club president and senior executives in communications, finance, human resources, legal, football operations, sales, marketing, sponsorship, information technology, and security positions.

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