Park Ji-Sung, a fan-favorite former participant for Manchester United, requested the soccer membership’s followers on Sunday to cease singing a tune in his honor that features the racist stereotype that Koreans eat canine meat.
As a decorated midfielder for the team from 2005 to 2012, Park earned the adoration of the group’s followers, who bestowed upon him a standard honor within the soccer world: a tune or chant, usually carried out within the stadium, with lyrics supposed to reward him.
However the reference to canine meat was “very uncomfortable to me,” though he was proud that followers made a tune for him and he understood they didn’t intend to offend or harm him, he mentioned on an official team podcast launched on Sunday.
He thought he needed to settle for it, he mentioned, having come to Britain from South Korea as a younger participant who was unfamiliar with the tradition. However he heard followers sing the tune once more in August when Hwang Hee-chan, a South Korean, made his debut for the Wolverhampton Wanderers in a recreation in opposition to Manchester United.
“I ought to in all probability communicate out extra loud this time,” Park mentioned on the podcast. Even when followers didn’t imply any offense, he mentioned, “I’ve to teach for the followers to cease that phrase, which is nowadays often a racial insult to the Korean folks.”
Manchester United mentioned in a press release that it “totally helps Ji-sung’s feedback and urges followers to respect his needs.”
References to canine meat have lengthy been used as an assault on Koreans abroad, a stereotype rooted within the nation’s longstanding battle over the continued, however diminishing, follow of elevating canines for human consumption. Most Koreans don’t eat canine meat now; a September 2020 survey by Nielsen discovered that 84 p.c of Koreans both have by no means eaten it or don’t intend to take action sooner or later.
The tradition has “modified enormously” over the a long time and much more quickly in recent times, mentioned Lola Webber, a director of campaigns to finish canine meat consumption for Humane Society Worldwide. Most youthful Koreans are appalled by the thought, she mentioned, although some older Koreans nonetheless hunt down the meat at specialised eating places.
“It’s not a part of mainstream tradition by any means in South Korea,” she mentioned. “It hasn’t been for a really very long time, however particularly in the previous few years, there’s been a really vocal opposition.”
Final week, President Moon Jae-in of South Korea recommended banning the consumption of canine meat, recognizing it as an international embarrassment.
The world’s prime soccer golf equipment have persistently wrestled with racist conduct by a few of their followers. In 2017, Romelu Lukaku, who’s Black, requested Manchester United followers to cease singing a tune for him that contained a racial stereotype. Some followers refused, following the song with a new one: “We’re Man United, we’ll sing what we wish.”