Ex-Manchester United and South Korea star Ji-Sung Park believes he “has to educate the fans” about a chant he says they sing which contains what he describes as a racial insult involving a lyric about eating dog meat.
United supporters sang the song towards Hee-Chan Hwang, the South Korea international who plays for Premier League side Wolves, when they traveled to Molineux for a match in August, according to the former Old Trafford favorite.
The Seoul-born midfielder says that he believes the chant will have made Hwang feel as deeply “uncomfortable” as he does about it, adding that the racial stereotype about Korean people is based on an outdated premise that does not reflect his country.
“I’m really sorry for him to hear that,” the Champions League and four-time Premier League winner told United’s podcast.
Park Ji-sung has asked @ManUtd fans to stop singing that song about him. Tells UTD Podcast: “I have to educate the fans to stop that word, which is usually these days a racial insult to Korean people. In Korea things have changed a lot. I really request the fans to stop.”
— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) October 3, 2021
It’s a shocker of a song. Always hated it. Really offensive to the player it’s supposed to be supporting.
— Andy (@ajnmann) October 3, 2021
“I know the United fans didn’t mean any offense to him but I have to educate the fans to stop that word [dog meat], which these days is a racial insult to the Korean people.
“I have to ask the fans to stop singing that word because it’s not cheering up someone anymore – it’s going to be more discomfort when they hear that song.”
Park acknowledged that he initially liked the song after he joined the club in 2005 because he felt “very proud” by the show of his popularity among the faithful.
The song is crass, at best. Perhaps if they outlawed the consumption of dog meat in Korea it would help.
— Edward (@EdwardJP23) October 3, 2021
This was sang yesterday, always found it a bit of an odd one. Not really the best way to honour a player
— Anna ⚽️ (@4shaann) October 3, 2021
“But when I heard about the lyric – about eating dog meat – it was very uncomfortable for me,” the midfielder said.
“I was young, I didn’t know the culture here, so it was probably one of the things I had to accept.
“I never thought the fans created the songs with bad meanings. They always make a song to give some energy to the players. That’s my thought. That’s why I accepted it.
Sang it loads yesterday but out of respect to Park I'll try to not sing it anymore
— JLP FPL (@jamesleachpoet) October 3, 2021
It was sang a lot yesterday and after I was like fuck me this is so racist. There was a Korean lad behind us when it was being sang and I felt so sorry for him
— J (@MrBhojani) October 3, 2021
“But time has changed and it is 15 years later. Probably, last summer, listening to one of the Korean players who joined Wolves, and that time the United fans sang my song, I felt I needed to do something.
“Even in Korea, it changed a lot. It is true that, historically, people have been eating dog meat.
“But these days, particularly the young generation, they hate it. It was there before but these days you really can’t find it. So the culture is changing.”
Now 40, Park made well over 100 appearances for United and played for his country 100 times, including at three World Cup finals, starting with the 2002 edition in which South Korea finished fourth.
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