"Turn that hate into wins"

NFL Champion Hines Ward has sent fellow Asian American footballer Taylor Rapp an inspirational message

LA draft Taylor Rapp has received an inspirational message about being Asian in the NFL from Hines Ward.

In a video uploaded to the official NFL Instagram, Hines says  “I know you’ve heard it before: ’Asians can’t play football. I still remember the first time I heard it.”

“But I learned something too,” he continues. “Those words can be a gift. You can feed off that energy. Turn that hate into wins.”

“So Asians can’t play football, huh? I’d say we’re pretty darn good,” Hines concludes.

Both Rapp and Ward are of mixed heritage. Born in Seoul, Ward has a Korean mother and African American father. During his time with the Pittsburg Steelers as a wide receiver, Ward won two Super Bowl championships but faced racial discrimination.

Rapp has a Chinese mother and Canadian father. The 21-year-old safety was picked by LA Rams in the second round of the NFL draft.

“Growing up in Bellingham, because we were different — especially on the football field, where there’s not a lot of Chinese players — you get taunted,” he told NFL.com. 

“They make fun of how you look — your eyes, the widened, slanted eyes. There were a few instances where I was called the Ch-word. It was offensive to me. It made me embarrassed of who I was.”

“That’s why I never embraced it growing up. I was different than everyone else, and I didn’t want to be.”