NFL condemns comments, but can't confirm racism allegations from Eugene Chung

·2 min read

The NFL said Thursday that it was “unable to confirm” the racist allegations made by former lineman and assistant coach Eugene Chung earlier this year.

Chung — who was the first Asian American selected in the first round of the NFL draft — said that he was told he was “not the right minority” while interviewing for a coaching job.

"After multiple discussions, including with Mr. Chung and his representative, we were unable to confirm the precise statement that was made, or by whom and under what circumstances any such statement was made," the league said in a statement, via ESPN.

"We intend to use this occasion to reinforce the commitment of the NFL and of every NFL club to ensure appropriate interview processes and develop diverse, inclusive, and respectful workforces on and off the field. Mr. Chung has offered to assist us moving forward and we welcome the opportunity to speak with him about how we can better advance employment opportunities throughout the League."

Chung said he was told he wasn’t the “right minority”

Chung, a Korean American, was picked in the first round of the draft in 1992 by the New England Patriots. He spent three seasons there before ending his career with one season with both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts.

Chung then spent 10 years working as an assistant coach in the league, both with the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs. He last worked for the Eagles from 2016-19, but his contract was not renewed.

He came forward in May to reveal a conversation he had while interviewing for another coaching job in the league — he declined to name that team specifically — that left him stunned.

“It was said to me, ‘Well, you’re really not a minority,’” Chung recalled.

“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, naturally, kept pressing the interviewer.

“I asked about it, and as soon as the backtracking started, I was like, ‘Oh no, no, no, no, no, you said it. Now that it’s out there, let’s talk about it,’” he said. “It was absolutely mind-blowing to me that in 2021, something like that is actually a narrative.”

While the NFL did say that the comments "have no place in the NFL or in any contemporary workplace,” it couldn’t actually confirm that the conversation occurred.

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