2021-10-04 17:23:55 Park Ji-Sung, Former Manchester United Player, Condemns Racist Fan Chant
Park Ji-Sung, Former Manchester United Player, Condemns Racist Fan Chant
Park Ji-Sung, a fan-favorite former Manchester United player, requested on Sunday that the soccer club’s fans refrain from singing a song in his honor that includes the racist stereotype that Koreans eat dog meat.
Park earned the adoration of the team’s fans as a decorated midfielder for the team from 2005 to 2012, who bestowed upon him a common honor in the soccer world: a song or chant, often performed in the stadium, with lyrics intended to praise him.
But the reference to dog meat was “very uncomfortable to me,” he said on an official team podcast released on Sunday, even though he was proud that fans made a song for him and understood they did not intend to offend or hurt him.
He thought he had to accept it because he had moved to the UK from South Korea as a young player unfamiliar with the culture. But he heard fans singing the song again in August, when South Korean Hwang Hee-chan made his debut for Wolverhampton Wanderers against Manchester United.
“I probably should speak out louder this time,” Park said on the podcast. Even if fans did not intend to offend him, he stated, “I have to educate the fans to stop using that word, which is now usually a racial insult to the Korean people.”
Manchester United issued a statement in which it stated that it “fully supports Ji-comments sung’s and urges fans to respect his wishes.”
References to dog meat have long been used as a slur against Koreans living abroad, a stereotype rooted in the country’s long-running, but dwindling, battle against the ongoing, but diminishing, practice of raising dogs for human consumption. Most Koreans do not eat dog meat anymore; according to a Nielsen survey conducted in September 2020, 84 percent of Koreans have never eaten it and do not intend to do so in the future.
According to Lola Webber, Humane Society International’s director of campaigns to end dog meat consumption, culture has “changed enormously” over the decades and even more rapidly in recent years. She claims that most younger Koreans are horrified by the idea, though some older Koreans still seek out the meat in specialized restaurants.
“It is not, by any means, part of mainstream culture in South Korea,” she explained. “It hasn’t been for a long time, but there has been a very vocal opposition, particularly in the last few years.”
Last week, South Korean President Moon Jae-in proposed a ban on the consumption of dog meat, recognizing it as an international embarrassment.
The world’s top soccer clubs have long struggled with racist behavior on the part of some of their fans. In 2017, Romelu Lukaku, a Black Manchester United player, asked fans to refrain from singing a song about him that contained a racial stereotype. Some fans refused, instead singing a new song: “We’re Man United, we’ll sing whatever we want.”