Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hines Ward meets the president.

From Yonhap via Naver.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward met with President Lee Myung-bak when the latter was in Pittsburgh for the G-20 Summit on Friday. The Korea Times has the story, but opted not to include the "h" on the end of the city.
President Lee Myung-bak and first lady Kim Yoon-ok met with Korean-American football star Hines Ward and leaders of the Korean community in Pittsburg upon arrival there Friday to participate in the G20 economic summit.

It was the first meeting between Lee and Ward, since the Pittsburg Steelers wide receiver was invited in February 2008 to Lee's inauguration ceremony in Seoul.

Lee told Ward that he and U.S. President Barack Obama are both fans of the Steelers. Ward said he felt grateful for being invited and gave Lee an autographed football, Cheong Wa Dae said.

Ward has often expressed his love for the Korean people. Recently, he donated $1 million to create the Hines Ward Helping Hands Foundation, and donated another $1 million to help multicultural and Korean people in the United States.

And then the article goes onto other topics. Lee also got his autograph:

Ward was heralded a national hero in South Korea after being named MVP of Super Bowl 40. He came to be cast in the media as a symbol of shifting attitudes toward biracial children, though the way I recall it people at the time were proud of him more for being Korean than for being an agent of social change. In December we learned Korea's CY Film would make a movie about Ward and his mother.

Korean papers are reporting that Korea will host the G20 summit next year. After seeing the headaches it caused in Pittsburgh this year, where most of the city was shut down to accomodate dignitaries and protesters, I wish we could have just given them the 2009 version as well.


Aaron said...

Wonder how that movie is coming along. Anyone know the title or if it's on IMDB?

kushibo said...

He came to be cast in the media as a symbol of shifting attitudes toward biracial children, though the way I recall it people at the time were proud of him more for being Korean than for being an agent of social change.

As The Marmot pointed out at the time, it was the media and the netizens as well. From one of the stories he translated:

There are also voices of reflection using the opportunity to call for the correction of mistaken perceptions of mixed-race individuals. It’s said that Ward experienced the hardship of ostracism from even Korean-American society because he was mixed-race. One netizen pointed out, “If Ward had continued to live in Korea, he would have been teased as a twigi (a Korean term of derision for mixed-race people) and would have been unable to properly attend school… We must end our society’s exclusionary ethnic nationalism that views mixed-race people through colored glasses.” There are even calls for us to learn the cultural inclusiveness of American society that made Ward’s success possible.

South Korea as a society has a long way to go on matters of mixed-race citizens, but at least it's headed in the right direction.

Brian said...

No idea, Aaron. The Joongang Ilbo article at the time said the movie was tentatively known as "My Mother," but I searched Korean news articles and could neither find the name or any recent mention.

I'm curious who they'd get to play him. I don't know many half-black, half-Korean guys period, let alone guys who are 220 lbs. of muscle.

I know, too, that if somebody wants to make a movie that uses NFL logos and teams they have to get the NFL's permission. I wonder if that'll be a stumbling block, or if in the land where copyright comes to die if they'll even bother seeking permission.

BFCdoors said...

I'm wondering if anyone else out there finds it awkward to discuss Korean involvement in American or international sports. I do. Here are a few examples of topics I find difficult:

-Hines Ward: As a Patriots fan, how can I say anything nice about him?
-Korea's upset of Italy in the World Cup: I, like most Americans, just don't care. Plus I've heard they cheated.
-The World Baseball Classic: I, like most Americans, don't care about the World Baseball Classic. And despite Korea's success in the tournament, I still don't think Korea is much of a good baseball country.
-National baseball hero Park Chan Ho: He's just not very good. And lesser national hero Kim Byung Yung was even worse.
-Ichiro and other Japanese major leaguers: They way outperform just about any Korean major leaguer. What am I supposed to say?