Following the killing of George Floyd, many have taken to the streets of cities across the nation to protest and call for reforms addressing police brutality and systemic racism.
In a Tuesday conference call with reporters, Fangio acknowledged the larger work needed to address social injustice but downplayed the extent to which it impacts the NFL, per ESPN's Jeff Legwold:
"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. If society reflected an NFL team, we'd all be great."
On Wednesday, Fangio said in a statement he had missed the mark.
"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," he said. "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 perspective."
In recent years, many have highlighted the lack of diversity among NFL coaching and front-office ranks.
Chris Grier (Miami Dolphins) and Andrew Berry (Cleveland Browns) are the only black general managers, and there are four minority head coaches: Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins), Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers), Anthony Lynn (Los Angeles Chargers) and Brian Flores (Miami Dolphins).
ESPN's Mina Kimes pointed to a January 2016 study that found white position coaches and assistants were "more than twice as likely" to receive a coordinator job compared to black coaches with similar resumes.
The NFL amended the Rooney Rule in May to give minority candidates more opportunities to land the most coveted jobs.
Teams have to interview two minority candidates for a head coaching role and one for a coordinator opening. One minority candidate is also required for a general manager vacancy or similar title.