Eugene Chung: I Was Told I Wasn't the 'Right Minority' During NFL Team Job Interview

Adam WellsMay 22, 2021

This is a photo of Eugene Chung of the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football team. This image reflects the Kansas City Chiefs active roster as of Tuesday, July 8, 2014. (AP Photo)
AP Photo

Former NFL offensive tackle Eugene Chung said he was told by a team he wasn't the "right minority" during an interview for a coaching position this offseason.

Speaking to Nicole Yang of the Boston Globe, Chung explained what he was told by an interviewer for a club. 

“It was said to me, ‘Well, you’re really not a minority,’” Chung, who is of Korean descent, 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,’. So I was like, ‘What do you mean I’m not a minority?’”

At that point, Chung noted, the interviewer said he wasn't "the right minority we’re looking for.”

A lack of diversity in coaching and executive positions is a problem the NFL has been trying to address. 

Per a February report from the league's football operations department and NFL Executive Vice President Troy Vincent (h/t Mike Jones of USA Today), only two of seven head-coaching vacancies, and nine of 28 coordinator vacancies, in the offseason were filled by people of color. 

The numbers were slightly better for general managers, with three of the seven new people hired being Black candidates. 

In an effort to increase the hiring of candidates from diverse backgrounds for head-coaching and general manager positions, NFL owners approved a resolution in November that gives teams draft pick compensation for people of color in their organization being hired for top positions by other teams. 

If a team loses a minority coach or executive to another team as a head coach or general manager, it will receive a third-round compensatory pick for two consecutive years. If a team loses a minority coach and executive to another team for one of those positions, it will receive a third-round compensatory pick for three consecutive years. 

Chung played five seasons in the NFL from 1992 to 1997. The Virginia Tech alum has spent 10 seasons in the league as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Eagles (2010-12, 2016-19) and Kansas City Chiefs (2013-15). 

He won a Super Bowl with the Eagles on head coach Doug Pederson's staff in 2017.