‘You are not the right minority’: Korean-American coach prompts NFL investigation after shocking job interview allegations
Speaking to the Boston Globe, Eugene Chung told the paper that he was being interviewed for the post when a member of staff at a still unnamed team informed him: "Well, you’re really not a minority."
"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,’" explained Chung.
"So I was like, ‘What do you mean I’m not a minority?'" he asked.
Chung says that the member of staff then clarified "You are not the right minority we’re looking for", which has led to the NFL having to condemn the incident through a statement yesterday.
"We will review the matter," vowed NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy.
"That comment is completely inappropriate and contrary to league values and workplace policies. The NFL and its clubs are committed to providing equal employment opportunities to all personnel in a manner that is consistent with our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion."
"It was absolutely mind-blowing to me that, in 2021, something like that is actually a narrative," lamented Chung, who enjoyed five years as a pro footballer before beginning his coaching journey in 2010.
Clocking up experience as an assistant coach at the Philadelphia Eagles, who he won a Super Bowl with in 2018, and the Kansas City Chiefs, Chung has spent considerable time in a league that as per the Rooney Rule demands franchises interview at least two people from minorities per job opening.
The Fritz Pollard Alliance, which dedicates itself to promoting diversity and equal representation across football, demanded in a statement that the NFL needs to carry out a thorough investigation into the allegations leveled by Chung.
"Alleged comments made to Eugene Chung by an NFL team during a recent interview should be investigated by the NFL," it said through a statement picked up by the NFL Network.
"If the comments regarding his status as a Korean American are true, it is further evidence that despite good faith changes to diversity-related policies, the NFL's actual hiring practices are still riddled with discrimination."
Statement from the Fritz Pollard Alliance on the alleged comment made to Eugene Chung: pic.twitter.com/fc84tAnzzy— Jim Trotter (@JimTrotter_NFL) May 24, 2021
Also of the same ethnic group and pictured with a Korean flag in the back of her office when regularly appearing on ESPN as an NFL analyst, respected pundit Mina Kimes also spoke out on the incident.
"Eugene Chung being told he was the wrong type of minority was demeaning to both him and to coaches who are the 'right' type of minority."
"Diversity should not be zero sum," she insisted, while also sharing footage of related comments on the US sports channel.