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The NFL is reviewing the allegations made by former NFL player and coach Eugene Chung, who said he was told in an interview with an NFL team this offseason that he was “not the right minority we’re looking for,” per Nicole Yang of the Boston Globe.
NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy released the following statement on Monday:
“We will review the matter. That comment is completely inappropriate and contrary to league values and workplace policies. The NFL and its clubs are committed to providing equal employment opportunities to all personnel in a manner that is consistent with our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Chung said his interviewer told him he wasn’t “a minority,” per Yang:
“’I was like, ‘Wait a minute. The last time I checked, when I looked in the mirror and brushed my teeth, I was a minority,’’ he said. ‘So I was like, ‘What do you mean I’m not a minority?’
“The interviewer responded, ‘You are not the right minority we’re looking for.’
“Chung was dumbfounded.
“’That’s when I realized what the narrative was,’ Chung said. ‘I was blown away, emotionally paralyzed for a split second. I asked myself, ‘Did I hear that correctly?’’”
“If the comments regarding his status as a Korean American are true, it’s further evidence the NFL’s actual hiring practices are still riddled with discrimination,” the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which advocates for greater diversity in the NFL and called for an investigation into Chung’s allegations, said in a statement.
Chung, 51, spent five seasons in the NFL as an offensive lineman with the New England Patriots (1992-94), Jacksonville Jaguars (1995) and Indianapolis Colts (1997). He was out of football until 2010, when he joined Andy Reid’s staff on the Philadelphia Eagles. He remained with the team until following Reid to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013.
He returned to the Eagles in 2016, staying on the team’s staff until 2019. He hasn’t had an NFL coaching gig since.
Chung believes there are plenty of teams and coaches that wouldn’t treat him the way he was approached in that interview.
“I’m not sitting here bashing the league at all, because there are great mentors and there are great coaches that embrace the difference,” he said. “It’s just when the Asians don’t fit the narrative, that’s where my stomach churns a little bit.”