Less than 24 hours after insisting that he doesn't see any racism in the NFL, Broncos coach Vic Fangio has apologized for his remarks.
The coaching veteran offered the apology shortly after holding a Zoom meeting with his team on Wednesday morning that lasted for roughly 45 minutes, according to the Denver Post.
"After reflecting on my comments and listening to the players this morning, I realize what I said regarding racism and discrimination in the NFL was wrong," Fangio said in a statement. "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."
Fangio's original comments Tuesday received almost immediate backlash from players around the NFL. During a video conference with reporters, Fangio said that he had never really witnessed any racism during his 35 years in the league.
"I think our problems in the NFL along those lines are minimal," Fangio said of racism, via ESPN.com. "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. If society reflected an NFL team, we'd all be great."
Judging by the reaction on Twitter, NFL players seem shocked that Fangio had never witnessed any racism during his three and a half decades in the league. Former Broncos cornerback Chris Harris, who now plays for the Chargers, admitted he was "confused" by the remarks.
Seahawks safety Qandre Diggs also weighed in.
After making the comments, Fangio made the decision to move a previously scheduled team meeting from Thursday to Wednesday so that he could talk with his players. According to the Post, general manager John Elway also took part in the video conference, which consisted of Fangio receiving feedback from multiple members of the team.
Fangio seemed to realize that his original comments were a mistake, which is why he quickly offered his apology.
"I wanted to make the point that there is no color within the locker rooms I have been in or on the playing fields I have coached on," Fangio said. "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."
The Broncos coach isn't the only one in the NFL who's been facing some backlash this week over comments that have been made about race. Drew Brees has been for giving his thoughts on how he feels about players kneeling during national anthem. The Saints quarterback , but not before multiple teammates and athletes around the country called him out for his remarks.