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NFL to Investigate Eugene Chung's Discrimination Claim

The NFL plans to review Eugene Chung's claim that a team official team told him he was "not the right minority" while interviewing for a coaching job this offseason.

“We will review the matter,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement. “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.”

Last week, Chung, who is Korean American, said that he faced discriminatory comments this offseason while going through a hiring process.

"It was said to me, 'Well, you're really not a minority,' " Chung said during a webinar Thursday, according to The Boston Globe's Nicole Yang, adding, "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.' "

According to Chung, after he asked the interviewer to explain, he was told he was "not the right minority that we're looking for."

Chung, 51, did not identify the team.

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

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Rod Graves, the executive director of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, the independent group that works to advance minority representation in the NFL, released a statement Monday morning, calling on the league to investigate the claim.

"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," Graves said in a statement. 

Chung played five seasons in the NFL from 1992–97. At the time, he was just the third Asian and second Korean American to play in the NFL.

He began his NFL coaching career in 2010 and has worked in a number of roles for the Eagles and Chiefs, most recently serving as an offensive assistant for the Eagles from '16–19. 

In recent years, the NFL has looked to address its lack of diversity. It has instituted and subsequently updated its Rooney Rule to mandate that organizations interview at least two minority candidates for head coaching and coordinator openings. 

Owners had also passed a resolution in November that rewards teams for developing minority coaches and front office executives who go on to become head coaches and general managers for other organizations.

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