"I'm trying to change the narrative"
Earlier this month, the Chinese American footballer had already said that he wants to inspire young Asians. However, the 21-year-old has since revealed that he used to hide his Chinese heritage. “I remember being kind of ashamed of it because I didn’t necessarily look like everyone else, especially in grade school,” Rapp said.
Now, Rapp hopes to encourage Asians to engage in the sport and to have someone to look up to.
“I’m trying to change the narrative,” Rapp said. “Show that Asians can play and try to inspire young kids.”
“It’s not really so much about making history,” Rapp continued. “I just kind of want to be an inspiration to the kids that were in my position growing up who didn’t necessarily have someone to look up to in major sports, in football.”
Reflecting on being picked by major colleges, Rapp said his ethnicity became a barrier.
“It was hard to get recruited. I felt like I didn’t look like a typical football player to college coaches,” Rapp said. “You don’t see a lot of football players who are Asian.”
Rapp’s older brother Austin described how though it was growing up in a Caucasian neighborhood.
“Being a kid, you obviously went through middle school, and middle school kids are terrible, and obviously you go for the low-hanging fruit jokes,” Austin said.
Their mother Chiyan was born in Shanghai and their father Chris was born in Oklahoma. Both parents encouraged their boys to participate in sports, particularly baseball and football.
“We were just trying to get them involved,” Chiyan said. “Keep them busy and they were both very competitive, so we wanted to help their leadership and talent grow.”
“[Taylor] had a lot of fans, and he said even a couple times his first year there were little Asian kids who used to walk up, even their parents, who were so excited for Taylor,” Chiyan added. “They never really had someone for their kids to look up to and so from that point, I guess more, Taylor kind of realized it.”