Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio didn't line up the X's and O's properly when he spoke out amid the Black Lives Matter movement. Fangio was torched for his recent comments last week after saying he didn't see racism in the NFL, a statement thoroughly shut down by black players around the league, including his own linebacker and Broncos team captain, Todd Davis.
Davis and his Broncos teammates talked to Fangio shortly after he clarified his comments, noting he was referring to his own locker room rather than the league altogether:
“We talked with Vic about everything,” Davis told Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. “Us talking with him and him talking with us, he had a great understanding of how we felt. Everything after that went great. I think that him showing his support and being there really meant a lot. You can see where his heart is. Sometimes the media nitpicks every single word. We just understand where his heart is and appreciate his support this Saturday.”
This Broncos conversation was one of likely many uncomfortable conversations that will need to take place in the league as the first step of combating racism and racial inequality.
Despite the league being mostly African American, it is caucasians who hold some of the most important positions. There are zero black owners in the NFL, while only three coaches and two general managers are black — equaling less than 10% of the league's spots, respectively.
Drew Brees, the longtime quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, had to apologize for recent comments regarding the United States flag, which came off as insensitive in light of the racial abuse and police brutality that have led to recent civil unrest. Brees' apology was shortly followed by one from the NFL after years of staying away from social issues and remaining complicit of racial abuse in the United States.
Fangio, a white coach, marched alongside his Broncos on Saturday and met with a protest leader to discuss the issues:
“It felt good to know not only that we had our coaches’, and teammates’, and friends’ and families’ support, but I felt like a lot of support was given by the fans and everybody that saw us online,” Davis said of this weekend's events. “It felt like they supported us a lot. That meant a lot because you know you’re always worried how everything can be perceived. You want to build and share your message and you want people to hear it, and not be closed off or not like the way you said what you said. So it was great to have our message heard and received well.”
It seems the Broncos have taken the initial step, something that each NFL team will be expected to do over the course of this week.