The Denver Broncos haven't gotten much national attention during this very strange off-season. But that changed in a big way this week when, amid protests in Denver and across the country over the police-custody death of George Floyd, head coach Vic Fangio claimed that he sees no racism in the NFL. And an apology delivered yesterday, June 3, has done nothing to squelch the outrage on social media, as evidenced by the following roundup of angry, passionate or snarky responses on Twitter.
On June 2, Fangio was talking to media reps about players speaking out on racial injustice when he said the following: "I think our problems in the NFL along those lines are minimal. 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 all live together, joined as one, for one common goal, and we all intermingle and mix tremendously."
The response to these assertions was swift and merciless. Pundits and more lined up to take shots at Fangio, including former footballer Martellus Bennett, ESPN shout leader Stephen A. Smith and rap icon Killer Mike. In response, Fangio did his best to eat his words by way of the following statement:
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After reflecting on my comments yesterday and listening to the players this morning, I realize what I said regarding racism and discrimination in the NFL was wrong. 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 there is no color within the locker rooms 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's mea culpa hasn't satisfied his critics, but he certainly has his defenders, including loads of right-wing Twitter users complaining about political correctness in the sort of coded language that makes it clear they're part of the problem. But some of the focus on Fangio was diverted after a more famous person, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, suggested that players kneeling to protest racial inequity was an example of disrespecting the flag, for which he has now offered his own "I'm sorry."
Not that Fangio's words have been forgotten. Continue to read our picks for the twenty most memorable tweets about his tone-deafness.
Vic fangio must be fucking blind https://t.co/aqu9Il7C4T— Bryen Singleton-Pradia (@eaglesfan2488) June 4, 2020
Really Vic Fangio? No racism in the NFL? Riley Cooper remained in the league after his racist remarks and Kaepernick was exiled for just kneeling during the anthem. #NFL #denver https://t.co/3512CQ2Bya— Dan Keesh (@DanKeesh) June 4, 2020
well, sayn in my best fuck you voice....i didn't actually mean what i said...... i i i'm sorry for what you took it as.... hey fangiodick...fuck you.— sherry (@sherrycrush) June 4, 2020
Broncos coach Vic Fangio sorry after saying there is no racism in NFL https://t.co/SXiNe1Yqbu
Vic Fangio got an eye problem https://t.co/kPJ7mpTeEW— GIMME ALL THE TROPHIES (@Lex_Naija) June 4, 2020
Vic Fangio nailed it. No racism in sports (sarcasm font).— Dave Rowlen (@DaveRowlen) June 4, 2020
Vic Fangio: 'I don't see racism at all in the NFL' via @theScore https://t.co/HoiW20X3j6— Pedro Urdemales (@PedroUrdemales8) June 4, 2020
Because you are blind. And the conspiracy to remove Kappernick? And all the threats to players kneeling? Buy glasses
Did Vic Fangio (white dude) really say there is no racism in the NFL cause he’s never experienced it?? pic.twitter.com/NBQoRZdnDi— C. Solo (@ChriSolorio) June 4, 2020
Thank god Drew Brees said something way worse than Vic Fangio pic.twitter.com/dAgNcoeNBn— rudeboi (@idksmitty) June 4, 2020
I might be late to the party but just heard it, Vic fangio is a dumbass— Grayson Roberts (@GraysonRoberts2) June 4, 2020
VIC FANGIO REALLY SAID THAT WOW— Black Soulutions (@MrRoscoes) June 4, 2020
@johnelway hi john. I played against you in hs at chatsworth. You kicked our as up and down the field with your arm. I’m sorry but there is no room for Vic Fangio in the nfl. His pullback today were hollow words required by mgmt and the league— tim latta (@timlatta) June 4, 2020
Drew Brees and Vic Fangio after Turning Off THE BRAIN TO MOUTH FILTER... pic.twitter.com/5uCOrxig5H— Damien Kirtley (@OccularEx1) June 3, 2020
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Due to @Broncos coach Vic Fangio “not seeing racism in the NFL” I’m not seeing myself as a 30+year fan anymore.— Deux Process (@DeuxProcess) June 4, 2020
I’m now a free agent fan and entertaining offers from other teams.
I have rejected the Saints latest offer.