One NFL head coach said he was “shocked, sad and angry” about the killing of George Floyd, while adding that the league doesn’t have a racism problem.
“[Floyd’s death] is a societal issue that we all have to join in to correct,” Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio told reporters Tuesday, also saying that discrimination and racism are not widespread in the NFL.
“I think our problems in the NFL along those lines are minimal,” said Fangio, who has been in the NFL coaching ranks since 1986, except for 2010 when he was Stanford’s defensive coordinator. “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.”
That comment is likely to draw disagreement in some quarters. Many critics of the NFL on race issues say the league blackballed Colin Kaepernick for his protests on police brutality in which he kneeled during the national anthem. In addition, a few days ago, Houston Texans wide receiver Kenny Stills ripped Roger Goodell’s statement on Floyd’s death, tweeting “Save the bulls–t.”
Floyd, 46, died on May 25 in Minneapolis after police officer Derek Chauvin, 44, pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes after Floyd was suspected of spending a counterfeit $20 bill. Chauvin has been charged third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Before Fangio’s comments on the NFL, he opened the call with reporters by saying Floyd’s death was a horrific act that never should have happened.
“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,’’ Fangio 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.’’
Fangio, who, according to ESPN, has supported the Rooney Rule for more diversity in the NFL coaching ranks in the past, told reporters that he encouraged his players to protest. He also credited safety Justin Simmons efforts on a recent day in Simmons’ hometown in Stuart, Fla.
“I thought it was great, Justin is a great person, a great leader, got his head screwed on correctly, he sees the problems and how they need to be solved,’’ Fangio said. “He’s searching for solutions, and it’s easy for everybody to identify the problems … we need to search for solutions and I think Justin is one of those guys who will find solutions.’’
Broncos CEO Joe Ellis had a virtual meeting with the players on how the team could come together for some social justice initiatives. Fangio said he would speak to the players about the same topics on Thursday.
Earlier, Los Angeles Chargers coach Anthony Lynn, one of the few black coaches in the NFL, said he is angered by Floyd’s death and that everyone, including himself, has to do better.
“How do we effect that type of change? Where’s the accountability for that kind of [expletive]?” the Chargers’ coach said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “That’s where I’m at right now. I’m angry, I’m pissed off and I don’t want to just put out a pretty statement.
“I haven’t done anything to make this a better place for my son,” the 51-year-old Lynn said. “I remember having the talk with him when he was 16 about how to handle police, and then at age 30, I called him up and just had the talk with him again because I’m so scared. I want to do something, but to be honest with you, I don’t know what that is.”
On the local front, Giants running back Saquon Barkley and Jets safety Jamal Adams spoke out in different ways on social media about Floyd’s death.
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