Eugene Chung on who told him he’s “not the right minority”: “It’ll go with me to the grave”

Eugene Chung
Getty Images

The NFL will investigate Eugene Chung’s claim that he was told during an interview for a coaching position that he’s “not the right minority.” The investigation likely won’t get very far.

Chung told ESPN that he won’t disclose the person who asked the question of the team involved, saying as to the information, “It’ll go with me to the grave.”

“I’m not looking to shame anybody, I’m not looking to call anyone out, or name names,” Chung said. “What good comes of that? I really don’t think he was saying it in a discriminatory or malicious way; it was matter-of-fact.”

Fine, then why repeat it at all? Chung lit the fuse by making the comment generally. He shouldn’t be surprised that the four words he uttered sparked an effort to learn more.

“With everything that’s going on in this country and in the world, I have stayed quiet, and I’ve always kept my head down,” Chung said. “That was what I was taught by my father who immigrated here — he’s like, ‘Do your work as best you can, stay quiet. Don’t cause any trouble.’ I don’t feel like I’m causing trouble, I’m just bringing information to light.”

But he’s stopping short of fixing it by refusing to tell the league who made the comment.

It’s really no surprise. Chung doesn’t want to be shunned by the league at large. Right or wrong (wrong), that’s what can happen to troublemakers. Chung’s vindication that would come from the team or person getting punished would instantly turn hollow when no one else ever hires him again because he rocked the boat.

Right or wrong (wrong), that’s just the way it is. It’s why there’s no coaching union. It’s why no coach has sued for discrimination. The potential price is the person’s career.

42 responses to “Eugene Chung on who told him he’s “not the right minority”: “It’ll go with me to the grave”

  1. I’m afraid it’s disingenuous to come out with such a searing accusation and then refuse to hold the person or organization accountable. If your going to “take it to the grave,” you should not have said anything in the first place.

  2. With some detective work, it seems like it would be fairly easy to figure out which team he’s talking about.

  3. I wholeheartedly disagree with you and side with Eugene Chung in this one.
    He brought up the issue, and everybody should care. Who gives a rat’s bottom about what one person said, when the problem is to be expected around the whole League? This is about correcting a general issue, NOT blaming a single person or finding a scapegoat, as you would suggest in the article. Firing or shaming ONE individual is ruining ONE person’s workplace, and not changing one iota of the root of the problem.

  4. Racism is bad but not bad enough to break up the good old boys club that is the NFL

  5. Bringing it up makes the unspoken spoken. It’s a warning to the league and the culture that put this mentality in place and keeps it there through silent agreement.

    It’s much like the recent reporting on anti-Asian violence and harassment, reporting that always seems to leave out some details. There’s a web of unspoken agreements to be silent about some aspects of culture, and if we believe in equality we need to be honest about it.

  6. So in other words when I called likely BS initially and said that if that actually happened and he wanted change/wants to make change then he needs to name names otherwise it looks like hes just using this as sympathy to get a job…now to add that he says I’m not naming names shows this was almost 100% a ploy by him to get in the good graces and get a job out of sympathy. This plain and simply was disgusting to claim racism and try to use the problem to further advance/keep his career going. Hmmm I bet all those thumbs down would like to change if now…

  7. This is such a strange story. I’m assuming he interviewed for an o-line coaching job, is there a shortage of minority o-line coaches that would cause teams to be looking for a specific minority? It seems like they’re pretty well represented at the position coach level

  8. And you wonder why so many people who go through this kind of thing remain completely silent. He speaks out about something that happened to him, and he winds up being criticized for not handling the situation exactly the way YOU want him to.

    He spoke out in order to start a dialogue, and you decide to make the dialog about him instead of the problem.

    If Chung outs the person that said it, he will never get a job coaching in the NFL, period. The old boy network will make sure of that.

  9. I’d have a lot of respect for the GM or executive in question that took accountability for the comment to take the heat off Eugene at this point.

  10. Even if Eugene never names the person who made the comment, the damage might already be done. Teams who interview him in the future might still be weary. The damage is done, if I was him, I would just name the person who made the comment.

  11. “ If Chung outs the person that said it, he will never get a job coaching in the NFL, period. The old boy network will make sure of that.”

    Or, it guarantees a job so the NFL doesn’t have to pay a settlement for blackballing him like they did with Kap. Or, he gets the settlement and goes on speaker circuit with Kap and maybe a few endorsement deals from appropriately woke companies.

  12. It makes sense why he wouldn’t name names.

    The reality is that the Rooney Rule was originally intended to benefit black coaches and much of the debate today about diversity (and the lack thereof) in coaching today circles around black coaches, not minority coaches more globally.

    I think this is about is prompting a culture change. Anti-Asian diversity in higher education and elsewhere is a real problem and it’s good that it’s called out, and refreshing that it’s not being used as an excuse to cancel the one idiot that said what others were thinking.

  13. How do you hold a team accountable for something allegedly said by a front office guy who most likely isn’t even with the team any longer? Further, assuming the guy said what Chung contends, that guy wasn’t likely going to blab about it to anyone else in the front office so the team wouldn’t have had any way of knowing it had been said. Naming the team is thus pointless as no reasonable action can be taken against it.

    Naming the person is a bit more nuanced. First, naming the person names the team. Second, Chung’s characterization isn’t that the guy said he didn’t want any Asians around so it isn’t as though the guy was acting maliciously. The guy allegedly said Chung wasn’t a minority (clearly stupid and wrong) and followed that up with Chung wasn’t the “right minority we’re looking for.”

    Asians are a minority population in the US, at least until it comes to college admissions when they somehow aren’t given the same advantages as other minority racial groups. The guy has the NFL and colleges for company with the first idiotic sentiment. It doesn’t make it right for the guy or the NFL or colleges or any other organization that punishes the success Asians in the US have worked hard to gain.

    Look at the guy’s 2nd statement. The team was actively looking to hire a minority, even though the team and NFL define “minority” as “black”. Chung has inadvertently brought to light that a team was looking to fill a position based on race, which throws cold water on the “NFL discriminates against black coaches” narrative.

    So, yes, Chung should have brought up the alleged comments. Even without naming the guy or the team, he laid bare that the NFL defines “minority” as “black” and that the NFL – at least that team – has positions earmarked for black candidates. Given the hyperventilating over one black guy not getting a HC job, it is safe to say that those points aren’t confined to one guy or one team.

  14. He’s putting everyone on notice that the way people are handling this sort of thing has gone way overboard. To use everyone’s favorite word, it’s now “systemic.” Getting one guy fired isn’t the point. The point is that the changes made to supposedly benefit minorities are in fact bestowing 2nd class status upon him due to the hierarchy of identity politics. In an effort to ensure everyone has equal opportunity (a good thing) an environment has been created that instead focuses on achieving a specific outcome in the name of “optics.”

  15. Then why even bother opening that can of worms?
    Wants his 15 minutes of fame.

  16. It’s clear it wasn’t a minority that made that statement. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the “right minority” interviewed and ended up being nothing more than a Rooney Rule casualty.

  17. The issue was created by the NFL. If they were to hire the “correct” minority the team would be compensated by an extra draft pick.

  18. Nothing in any of the reporting suggests that Chung was the “right candidate” (but the “wrong minority”). So, whether this was said to make him feel better about not getting the position, or to point out the power that some minority groups have over the NFL is moot. Chung wasn’t getting the job – end of story.

  19. Well, on the other hand
    Robert Saleh, who is of Lebanese descent, is the HC of the Jets.
    Sanjay Lal who is of Indian descent has been coaching the league for ever.

    I’m sure there are other (non-African Aerican) examples of diversity in the NFL.
    The positive side of me likes to think if Eugene Chung is deserving, he will get his shot.

  20. How does Chung benefit from this? He doesn’t. He’s potentially made himself radioactive and what kind of settlement leverage does he have if he doesn’t name the team? None. It’s not like he’s a JAG, he’s played in the league and coached under the best.

    I believe his statement. I believe some exec told him he wasn’t the the “right minority”. It’s an issue of optics for the NFL and attempting to appease. It’s always said how the ratio of minority (black) coaches to black players is bad. The word “minority” has really only come to represent one race as of late.

  21. If it’s important enough for him to talk about it, then it’s important enough for him to say who said it.

  22. what a weird story.. first he was told he was the wrong minority but now he says the guy didn’t mean anything by it…

  23. Unfortunately Mr. Chung, try as you might, the toothpaste cannot be put back into the tube.

  24. Let’s make accusations of racism then refuse to identify the guilty parties involved in the alleged act. That’s about as low as it gets. That’s like claiming a certain team is engaging in systematic racism, but I’m not going to tell you which team it is that way we can paint ALL THE TEAMS with the same brush

  25. His statement should be all that is needed. He’s pointing out that there is more to being a minority than being black and that in his case that seems to be where the definition lies. He shouldn’t need to say who. That only adds a sense of closure to the league by being able to point a finger, place blame, and call it fixed by losing a draft pick. It does not address the problem he is bringing to the surface that discrimination is more than being black when related to the hiring process. Allowing that statement to be made by any team (or company) is discarding qualifications and focusing on ethnicity. Sounds like why the Rooney Rule came into being.

  26. As disgusting it is to say “you’re the wrong kind of minority”, it’s equally as disgusting to say “you’re the right kind of minority” which is what affirmative action makes employers/college admissions do all the time.

    The levels of forms of condescension the black American community embraces, and even desires, is wildly disturbing sometimes. Imagine wanting employers to hold that criteria sacred.

  27. buffalobob says:
    May 25, 2021 at 10:25 am
    It makes sense why he wouldn’t name names.

    The reality is that the Rooney Rule was originally intended to benefit black coaches and much of the debate today about diversity (and the lack thereof) in coaching today circles around black coaches, not minority coaches more globally.
    ____________

    Nailed it. The NFL didn’t recognize him as a minority when it came to the compensatory formula, so the team matter of factly stated that he wasn’t the minority they were looking for when it comes to this.

    The pressure should be put on the NFL to provide clarity when it comes to their new rule. The pressure should not be to find the person/team that made this comment.

  28. Fine, then why repeat it at all? Chung lit the fuse by making the comment generally.
    —–
    Perhaps he repeated it because he was trying to make the very true point that the NFL HAS put all of it’s eggs in one racial basket and as a minority who isn’t in said basket, he’s tired of not being represented equally. He wasn’t trying to call out a specific team, that was directed solely at the league IMO.

  29. Should be easy to narrow the list down “WHAT TEAMS DID HE INTERVIEW WITH ?”

  30. Jerry MacDaid says:
    May 25, 2021 at 10:21 am
    “ If Chung outs the person that said it, he will never get a job coaching in the NFL, period. The old boy network will make sure of that.”

    Or, it guarantees a job so the NFL doesn’t have to pay a settlement for blackballing him like they did with Kap. Or, he gets the settlement and goes on speaker circuit with Kap and maybe a few endorsement deals from appropriately woke companies.
    —-

    Or, and hear me out here, the NFL can just stop doing things that make them pay settlements and creates martyrs.

  31. It’s not important who said that to him. The NFL has a history of saying insensitive and politically incorrect things to players. It shouldn’t be surprising that they would treat coaches the same.
    I think we should be grateful that he informed us of that.

  32. Is Jeff Ireland interviewing any coaches for the Saints? I know he’s their scouting director but he has been known to ask potential players/coaches some pretty questionable things.

  33. This is not just an NFL problem. Personal and professional experience has taught me that many in this country only equate minority with black, to include many black people.

  34. His angst to name the organisation and therefore to face any consequences shows how racist this country really is.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.