San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan didn't mince words when discussing the lack of diversity on NFL sidelines and in front offices.
Shanahan believes the systemic racism plaguing the United States is evident in the league's hiring process.
"It's tough because white people don't feel it. You're not going to think someone's racist but, you know what? How the heck are there only four black head coaches out of 32? How are there only two GMs?" Shanahan said, according to Scott Bair of NBC Sports.
Shanahan added, "The majority of our players are black. The fact that there are that few (in positions of power) is not debatable. I don't think people openly think that they're doing it, or that people assort to that, but that's what the problem is. The number is not debatable, and that is an issue. I think we talk about it a lot and it is something that has to get better."
The league's hiring practices came to the forefront again after top head coaching candidates such as 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh - an Arab-American - and Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy - a black man - were passed over.
San Francisco has both a diverse coaching staff and front office. There are eight African-Americans working as coaches and three in the personnel department. The Niners also employ a white, female offensive assistant who is the first openly gay coach in the NFL.
"I can only speak for myself, and I try to hire people that I work with that are prepared for (the job). Fortunately, that has worked out well for me," Shanahan said. "We have a Muslim coordinator. We have a black coordinator. We have a lesbian on our staff. ... It's not to show people that we're trying to be diverse. It's because I have been around these people and they are really good at what they do."