April 27, 2005
Written by C.N.
CNNSI.com has an article about the prospects of Tim Chang (senior quarterback at the University of Hawai’i) becoming the first Asian American quarterback in the National Football League. The article notes that although Chang has set numerous NCAA passing records, he has not received a lot of positive attention from scouts, and his ethnicity may have something to do with it:
[Don] Yee makes it clear he is not suggesting NFL personnel evaluators have practiced any overt or intentional form of discrimination in assessing Chang’s prospects. But as the league’s only Asian-American agent, he can draw on his experience and the well-meaning perceptions he sometimes ran up against in becoming a pioneer in his field.
“I do think [Chang's] ethnicity to some degree plays a part,” Yee said. “But there’s no malice intended. It’s almost a subconscious perception problem. There is kind of a perception that people have of Asians. There are still stereotypes that well-intending people still buy into. When I got into this business, it took a couple years before I was able to not have to listen to any jokes any more about being Asian. It wasn’t malice. It was more ignorance.”
The article goes on to say that at least on the surface, most the suspicions against Chang center on him playing in a wide-open “run and shoot” offensive system that usually doesn’t translate well into a stricter, more balanced and controlled NFL system. In this past weekend’s NFL draft, Chang went undrafted, but he did sign a free agent offer with the Arizona Cardinals shortly thereafter.
If Chang ends up playing professional football somewhere (either in the NFL, the Canadian Football League, the NFL Europe, or Arena Football), Chang may find himself in the role of “trailblazer” — forging the way and eventually getting trampled in the process, but hopefully clearing the path for others to follow after him. I wish him the very best of luck.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "First Asian American NFL Quarterback?" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2005/04/first-asian-american-nfl-quarterback/> ().
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