Ex-Manchester United star Park Ji-sung has asked fans to stop using a chant that references negative racial stereotypes about people eating dogs in his native South Korea.
Park, while insistent that he doesn’t believe fans have created the offensive lyrics with any malice, has said it should stop it because he thinks it can make Korean players feel uncomfortable, referencing Wolves forward Hwang Hee-chan after United played at Molineux earlier this season.
Park admits that he was ‘proud’ to have a fan chant of his own more than 15 years when he first arrived at Old Trafford because it meant he was making a positive impact at he club.
But he has said the part about eating dog meat has always made him ‘very uncomfortable’ and still being young at the time and not understanding British culture, he simply accepted it.
“15 years ago, everything changed from Holland to England, I had to adapt and start from zero. So when I heard that song at that time, I felt very proud first because they created a song for me, which is good for a player,” Park told the club’s official UTD Podcast.
“But when I heard about the lyric – about eating dog meat – it was very uncomfortable for me.
“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.
“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,” the four-time Premier League champion continued.
“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.
“So I’m really sorry for [Hwang] to hear that. I know the United fans didn’t mean any offence to him, but I have to educate the fans to stop that word, 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.”