Football coach Eugene Chung was a first-round NFL draft pick in 1992 and has a decade of NFL coaching experience under his belt, including one Super Bowl win with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018.
But Chung said Thursday he was recently denied a spot as an NFL head coach because he is "not the right minority." Chung is a Korean American.
Speaking with the Boston Globe, Chung recalled the "absolutely mind-blowing" job interview.
"It was said to me, 'Well, you're really not a minority,'" Chung explained.
Chung said the comment left him frozen — but he decided to push the interviewer on what exactly he meant.
"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,'" Chung recalled. "So I was like, 'What do you mean I'm not a minority?'"
The interviewer, however, doubled down and said, "You are not the right minority we're looking for."
"That's when I realized what the narrative was," Chung explained. "I was blown away, emotionally paralyzed for a split second. I asked myself, 'Did I hear that correctly?'"
Chung told the Globe the interviewer began to backtrack when confronted further.
"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."
Chung neither named the interviewer nor identified the team responsible for the racial insult.
"The NFL has attempted to address its lack of diversity, instituting — and updating — the Rooney Rule to mandate that organizations interview at least two minority candidates for head coaching and coordinator openings. The owners also passed a resolution in November that rewards teams for developing minority coaching talent with draft compensation," the Globe reported.
While the effectiveness of the diversity plan has been questioned, Chung said he does not harbor ill will toward the league.
"I'm not sitting here bashing the league at all, because there are great mentors and there are great coaches that embrace the difference," Chung told the Globe. "It's just when the Asians don't fit the narrative, that's where my stomach churns a little bit."
TheBlaze has reached out to the NFL for comment.