Amid nationwide protests about systemic racism and police brutality that were once again brought to light by the death of George Floyd last week, Broncos coach Vic Fangio said Tuesday, “This is a social problem we all need to address in order to fix this. “
“I was shocked, sad, and angry when I saw what bothered police officers George Floyd on his stomach that led to his death,” Fangio said in a prepared statement at a Zoom conference with the media. “(Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin) must be punished for the crimes charged against him in the broadest sense of the law, in addition to being charged with treason for not maintaining the badge of the uniform entrusted to him.”
Fangio’s comments came on the heels of a few team meetings earlier in the day when team president Joe Ellis urged the Broncos players to use their platforms to speak out against racism and discrimination, adding that the team had a responsibility to do so.
Fangio said he has “the utmost respect and admiration for the police and the work they do in difficult circumstances. They enable us to have a great country every day. The Minnesota agent has failed the 99 percent of the police who do an excellent job, and we all pay a price for that. ‘
The coach emphasized that the circumstances surrounding Floyd’s death are “not a political issue,” and that with sport as a unifying force, he hopes the Broncos and the NFL can move the nation forward. Broncos safety Kareem Jackson echoed that feeling.
“It is clearly a sad time at the moment with what (the country) is going through, but at the end of the day we have to go out and do the things we need to be heard, and try it peacefully way to do, “said Jackson. “We have to think about what we can do, not only as a team but also as an organization. How can we go out and influence the Denver community? Maybe we can get out and organize a march as a team, or something. We must leave the community and be heard. ‘