Collegiate football athlete Jamaal Jarrett has apologized for the racially insensitive remarks he made on his Instagram Live during the 2023 NFL Draft on April 27.
Jarrett, a 17-year-old freshman lineman for the University of Georgia Bulldogs, made a derogatory comment during the selection ceremony toward an Asian boy who delivered the Atlanta Falcons’ first-round pick announcement.
Jarrett, who was streaming himself watching the draft live when the Falcons’ No. 8 pick was called in, apparently wanted his fellow Bulldogs defensive tackle Jalen Carter to be selected.
“Jalen Carter, come on Asian. Ching chong,” Jarrett can be heard saying.
Jarrett’s offensive remark drew widespread criticism online, with many calling for his suspension.
“Hating people because of their color is wrong,” a user commented on a reshared clip on Twitter. “And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.”
“Yeah that was just flat-out racism, not Jarret being ‘racially insensitive,’” another wrote.
In response to the backlash, Jarrett released a statement on Twitter, expressing his apologies to the Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.
I feel ashamed by my actions that have caused tremendous hurt and pain, especially to those in the AAPI community, and I truly do apologize. I did not mean any hate or harm towards anyone. Over the past several days I have learned more about the AAPI community and the increased hate crimes that have been directed towards members of the community. I have come to understand more clearly where I messed up and why this behavior was wrong. The type of language I used is harmful, and there is no place for it anywhere.
The Bulldog freshman then went on to commit to making a “more positive impact” and representing himself better moving forward.
As we celebrate AAPI Heritage Month, I plan to contribute learning and talking with students and others on our campus and in Athens to learn how I can support the AAPI community. I promise I will learn from this mistake and do better.
In his final year of high school, Jarrett amassed 63 total tackles
, with 18 tackles for loss, three quarterback hurries, an interception and one sack. The young athlete was also selected to participate in the prestigious All-American Bowl during his senior year.
His skills have earned him a reputation as a four-star recruit, and he ultimately chose to commit to the University of Georgia as a defensive tackle.