Former NFL player and assistant coach Eugene Chung says he was told in a job interview with an NFL team this offseason that he is “not the right minority” for the league to hire.
“It was said to me, ‘Well, you’re really not a minority,’” Chung told the Boston Globe.
Chung, an Asian-American whose parents are both Korean, said he challenged the interviewer.
“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,’” Chung 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, who did not identify the team or the person conducting the interview, felt that being Asian-American was going to be a detriment to his chances of getting the job.
“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?’”
Chung was a first-round pick of the Patriots in the 1992 NFL draft and also played for the Jaguars and Colts. His coaching career has included stints on the staffs of the Eagles and Chiefs. He said he has had good experiences in the NFL, but that he questions whether teams are interested in increasing the representation of Asian-Americans in football.
“I’m not sitting here bashing the league at all, because there are great mentors and there are great coaches that embrace the difference,” Chung said. “It’s just when the Asians don’t fit the narrative, that’s where my stomach churns a little bit.”