ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — John Elway says he’s no longer staying on the sidelines and is “joining with the players, coaches and our organization in speaking up against racism, police brutality and any injustice against the black community.”
The comments from the Denver Broncos' general manager came in a lengthy Twitter post at the end of a tempestuous week in which his head coach, Vic Fangio, drew widespread condemnation for suggesting he didn't see racism or discrimination in the NFL.
Fangio's remarks came during a media call Tuesday after the team addressed the widespread demonstrations that were sparked by a white police officer’s killing of a handcuffed black man in Minnesota last week.
Fangio apologized a day later, saying he only meant to suggest the league was a meritocracy on the field and in the locker room and should have recognized the lack of minority head coaches, general managers, team presidents and owners in the country's most popular sport.
Several Broncos players and coaches are expected to gather Saturday for a march and speeches at the state capitol in downtown Denver, the site of daily demonstrations since the death of George Floyd. Four officers have been fired and charged in his killing.
Broncos safety Kareem Jackson spearheaded the effort, saying players needed to do more than tweet and talk about systemic racism, social injustice and police brutality.
It isn’t known if Elway will join the players at the state capitol.
On Friday night, Elway tweeted that he spent much of the week listening to his players and coaches and realized his views he's held for decades were wrong.
“I always thought that since I grew up in a locker room, I knew everything there was to know about understanding teammates from different backgrounds and walks of life,” Elway wrote. “What I’ve realized is that I could not have been more wrong.
“Listening to players and reading their social media, the strength they have shown and the experiences they have shared has been powerful. It has impacted me. I realize I have a long way to go, but I will keep listening and learning,” Elway added. “That is the only way to grow. I truly believe a lot of good will come from the many difficult conversations that are taking place around our team, league and country.”
Elway went on to say he fully supports his players using their platforms to call for change and he suggested that sports can be much more than a distraction at a difficult time: “We can all be part of the solution,” he said.
“I also understand that my voice needs to be a part of this conversation, too,” added Elway, who led Denver to two Super Bowl titles during his Hall of Fame playing career and another from the front office during his decade as an executive.
“I am not going to stay on the sidelines,” Elway declared. “Everyone has a responsibility to help those who are hurting. I am joining with the players, coaches and our organization in speaking up against racism, police brutality and any injustice against the black community.”
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