NFL Unable to Confirm Eugene Chung's Allegation of Discriminatory Remark in Interview

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 1, 2021

The NFL logo is shown on the field before a game between the Denver Broncos and the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
AP Photo/Jack Dempsey

The NFL was unable to confirm Eugene Chung's allegation he was told he was "not the right minority" while interviewing for a coaching job in the league.

"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 NFL said Thursday.

Chung, a Korean American, told the Boston Globe's Nicole Yang in May of the interview in question. Based on his account, the interviewer initially said he was "really not a minority." The interviewer allegedly clarified and said he was "not the right minority we’re looking for."

"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,'" Chung said. "It was absolutely mind-blowing to me that in 2021, something like that is actually a narrative."

The New England Patriots selected Chung 13th overall in the 1992 NFL draft. He spent five years in the league, also suiting up for the Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars.

After his playing career, the 52-year-old went into coaching and worked on the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles coaching staffs.

Chung's allegations came at a time when acts of discrimination and racism against Asian Americans have been on the rise. The FBI warned of the coming trend in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the United States. 

The nonprofit group Stop AAPI Hate surveyed 413 people who had previously reported incidents of anti-Asian hate to the group through last November. Of the respondents, 71.7 percent said anti-Asian discrimination was "their greatest source of stress, much higher than other pandemic concerns."