Green Bay Packers GM Brian Gutekunst: Devin Funchess' slur 'very unacceptable ... it can't happen again'
GREEN BAY - Before addressing the media Sunday, Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst had a conversation with Devin Funchess to inform the veteran receiver his use of a racist slur against Asians after Saturday night’s practice was “very unacceptable.”
In banter with reporters Saturday, Funchess was discussing the difficulty in noticing smiles on faces that are hidden by masks.
“I can tell you were smiling when I see your face,” Funchess told a reporter. “I can see your face. Everybody goes (slur) and that’s when I know.”
Funchess simultaneously pointed to his eyes, an anti-Asian gesture.
Funchess apologized shortly afterward on his Twitter account.
"I want to apologize for the disparaging remark I used tonight," Funchess said. "It was not OK. I have grown to develop deep personal and business relationships in the Asian community!I meant no harm, and those that know me, know I have love and respect for all cultures and people. I will learn from this and will continue to grow as a person. I'm forever sorry!"
Before taking questions, Gutekunst opened his news conference by condemning Funchess’ slur.
“Unfortunately there was a comment made by Devin Funchess (Saturday) night that was very unacceptable,” Gutekunst said, “and certainly doesn’t live up to the standards and values of the Green Bay Packers. We’ve addressed it with Devin. He knows it’s unacceptable. I do think he’s sincerely remorseful and will hopefully learn from this.
“Hopefully our team can learn from this, and we’ll move forward. I do want to say that’s something that is not condoned, and it certainly doesn’t live up to what we believe.”
Before his comment, Funchess was having his best night of training camp. He caught two passes, his most in what has been a quiet camp for him. Funchess is returning to the field after missing most of the past two seasons.
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He broke his clavicle in Week 1 of the 2019 season while with the Indianapolis Colts and missed the rest of the year on injured reserve. After signing a one-year deal with the Packers before last season, Funchess opted out of the 2020 season because of COVID-19.
Gutekunst warned there was zero tolerance for racist language but said he did not consider releasing Funchess over the comment.
“Not at the moment,” Gutekunst said. “I think through the conversations that we’ve had — and there’s going to be more — but I think his apology was sincere. I think he made a mistake, and certainly it can’t happen again.”