By BARRY WILNER
AP Pro Football Writer
Former NFL player and coach Eugene Chung is still waiting to meet with Commissioner Roger Goodell regarding an anti-Asian comment he says a team made about him during a job interview this year.
Chung said on a July 26 conference call that the league never told him why a requested meeting with Goodell was not arranged nor how the NFL’s investigation was conducted.
Chung, who spent time with five teams as a player and coached with the Eagles and Chiefs, has not identified the coach who he says told him that Asian Americans were “not the right minority” in the NFL.
The NFL reviewed the matter and said that after “multiple discussions,” including Chung and his representative, the league was “unable to confirm the precise statement that was made, or by whom and under what circumstances any such statement was made.”
But Chung wants more information about the investigation.
“I know people I have talked to, head coaches and people high up in the executive offices, who knew nothing about it,” he said.
“I’m not interested in outing anybody, it’s irrelevant. The mere fact that statement was made to me raised a lot of questions on my behalf.
“My goal is to find out whether Asians are considered a minority (by the NFL). There is legitimate confusion and when the statement was made it was shocking. I want to get clarity and clarification on whether Asians are considered a minority when it comes to the hiring process. I want to get that out there and answered.”
Chung believes a meeting with Goodell would provide clarity.
“NFL security spoke to my representatives and requested a sit-down with Mr. Goodell so we could have a conversation about what I have been talking about,” Chung added. “The request was denied. I don’t know why he won’t have a sit-down with me or a meeting to talk about these issues at hand.”
The NFL said on July 26 it is eager to meet with Chung.
“We embrace the opportunity to work with Eugene to hear his ideas on how we can better advance employment opportunities throughout the league, both for Asian Americans and for all underrepresented groups,” the league said in a statement. “As we have made him aware, we welcome meeting with him, and have at no time, turned down requests to discuss these important issues with our staff, including the commissioner.”
The NFL added that Asians/Pacific Islanders are a minority under the league’s diversity policy.
Chung, 52, is eager to return to coaching and wants to shed light on any lack of perceived diversity in his sport.
“I am trying to get back into coaching in the NFL and not letting this comment define who I am as a person or coach,” he said. “I just want to make sure no one else has to go through this or experience what I have been going through.
“The matter at hand is fixing those words and what they mean. Are Asians considered a minority in the hiring process?
“When this came out, I was sharing my experience with other people, and growing up in this country as Asian American … as an Asian American player and coach in the league. I want to do this in a positive way and help other people. ”
A first-round draft pick by New England in 1992, he also played for Jacksonville and Indianapolis for a total of 55 games. Chung also was with Kansas City and Philadelphia, but never suited up in a game for them.
He was an assistant offensive line coach with the Eagles from 2010-12, moved to the Chiefs from 2013-15. Chung was back with Philadelphia from 2016-19, and was part of the team’s Super Bowl victory over New England in February 2018.