Football fans, the NFL draft starts tomorrow through Saturday, and Virginia Tech's left tackle Ed Wang is projected to be drafted anywhere from the 3rd to 5th round, which would reportedly make him the first Chinese American football player drafted into the NFL.
Ed is a massive football player. Both of Ed's parents were former Olympic athletes for China, and out of high school Ed was the Gatorade State Player of the Year in Virginia. Ed is extremely quick for his position, having been a former tight end before changing positions to left tackle, and is also known for the long streaming Black hair he plays with under his helmet (like Troy Polamalu).
From a recent interview with Ed, one interesting note is he was on Virginia Tech's campus when the shooting happened. He also mentioned the racial taunts he received growing up as one of the few Asian athletes on his teams. His thoughts on being the first Chinese American drafted: “It’s going to mean the world to me. It will make me so happy. It will make my parents happy, too. I am doing it for them.”
Ed has a draft diary on NFL.com, where he's written about his background, the combine, and getting ready for his pro day.
I personally hope the New England Patriots snag Ed with one of their picks, and have him join the team's top pick last year, Chinese Jamaican safety Patrick Chung. Over here in New England, many fans still harbor bad (and in my opinion unfair and disproportionately more negative) memories of former 1st round pick Eugene Chung, the first Korean American drafted nearly two decades ago. It wouldn't hurt to add another talented Asian American onto the roster, given the fan base here. Other current or recently retired prominent Asian American football players in the NFL include Hines Ward, Tedy Bruschi, and Dat Nguyen. A more complete list can be found here.
One interesting, somewhat related article that was published yesterday was an article complaining about white athletes being unfairly stereotyped and dropped back in NFL drafts due to their race. I think everything written in it applies just as much (if not 1000 times more) for Asian American athletes, in any American professional sport., over possible prejudice in the professional drafting and signing process. In a way, it reminds me of the affirmative action complaints from white applicants, who almost always fail to mention the even higher bar and discriminatory attitudes that Asian American applicants face (who by the way do not benefit from affirmative action), more so than what is experienced by their white counterparts and is rarely acknowledged.
From various biographies, Kailee Wong is listed as half Hawaiian and half Euro. There are also many players with heritage from pacific islands who have made it in the NFL. On websites Patrick Chung is listed as Chinese Jamaican, he was born in Jamaica and is a quarter Chinese. I agree with you that there have been other Asian American players and other players of some Chinese descent in the NFL. Most of the major NFL publications writing about Ed Wang keep bringing him up as the first Chinese American to be drafted. In using that claim, they are probably not counting multi-racial athletes, which I would disagree with. Since there have been other Americans of Chinese descent who have made it, I guess what these publications mean is the first non-biracial Chinese American athlete.