Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio apologized on Wednesday for his comments to reporters that he doesn't "see racism at all in the NFL."
"After reflecting on my comments (Tuesday) and listening to the players this morning, I realize what I said regarding racism and discrimination in the NFL was wrong," Fangio, 61, said in a statement Wednesday. "While I have never personally experienced those terrible things first-hand during my 33 years in the NFL, I understand that many players, coaches and staff have different perspectives. I should have been more clear and I am sorry.
"I wanted to make the point yesterday that here is no color within the locker room I have been in or on the playing fields I have coached on. Unfortunately, we don't live or work only within those confines. Outside of those lines -- both in the NFL and society -- there is a lot of work to be done in the areas of diversity and providing opportunities across the board for minorities.
"As the head coach, I look forward to listening to the players - both individually and collectively - to support them and work hand-in-hand to create meaningful change."
Fangio opened a video conference call Tuesday by saying he was outraged with what happened to George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.
Police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after pressing his knee on the neck of Floyd, who is black, for more than eight minutes. On Wednesday, the murder charge against Chauvin was elevated to second-degree.
"I think our problems in the NFL along those lines are minimal," Fangio said Tuesday. "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."
According to multiple media reports, nearly 70 percent of NFL players last season were black. The league currently has three black head coaches -- the Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Tomlin, the Los Angeles Chargers' Anthony Lynn and the Miami Dolphins' Brian Flores -- plus one Latino head coach, the Washington Redskins' Ron Rivera.
Last month, the NFL announced changes to the "Rooney Rule" that requires teams to interview minority candidates for head-coaching and top front-office positions, adding to the number of applicants who must be considered. The league tabled a proposal to offer draft-pick incentives for teams that hire minority head coaches or general managers.
--Field Level Media