The dog meat songJANG JOO-YOUNG
The author is a national team reporter of the JoongAng Ilbo.
When Park Ji-sung played for Manchester United in the Premier League, fans used to chant the so-called “dog meat song.” Whenever a match was held at Old Trafford, the chant was sung.
The chant in question makes reference to the racial stereotype that Koreans eat dog meat, before shifting to insult people from local rivals Liverpool. It is still sung by Manchester United fans today.
The song is supposed to cheer Park, but the lyrics are odd. The reference to eating dogs is absurd, and is used to mock Liverpool, Manchester United’s rival. It is beyond humor or satire. It is racially and regionally discriminatory. For any fiercely competitive sport, discrimination and violence cannot be justified in the name of rivalry.
Having quietly listened to the chant during his active years, Park recently asked fans to stop singing it. He appeared on an official team podcast and said, “I have to educate the fans to stop that word, which is usually these days a racial insult to the Korean people.”
In fact, the chant was sang recently. Manchester United fans sang the chant to Hwang Hee-chan, who joined Wolverhampton in an away game in August. Manchester United posted a statement on its official homepage that the club “fully supports Ji-sung’s comments and urges fans to respect his wishes.”
Racism in the Premier League is not a thing of the past. Currently, players are engaged in the Black Lives Matter campaign by kneeling before a match as an anti-racism gesture. But racially charged incidents occur in and out of the stadiums more often than not. Some fanatic fans use derogatory expressions to Asians, telling Tottenham’s Son Heung-min to “sell DVDs,” a racial slur used by football fans to insult Asian players, apparently alluding to the sale of illegal copies of DVDs in London markets. Some players refuse to participate in BLM campaign, calling it “meaningless.”
Under this circumstance, Park Ji-sung’s remarks took great courage. He was calling out fans who have supported him for a long time. In fact, he said that he was still proud of the fact that fans made a chant for him, even though it is an uncomfortable one. He said he was sorry to other young Korean players in Europe. I applaud him for his dignity and courage as a senior player.