Ward and his mother arrived in Korea before Parents' Day (어버이날) on May 8th. From the JoongAng Ilbo:
Parents’ Day recognition came early yesterday for two Korean mothers, who were welcomed at the Blue House and praised for their efforts to nurture great sons. British Disability Sports Events National Junior Championships swimming medalist Kim Se-jin, 13, and his adoptive mother, Yang Jeong-suk, and American football player Hines Ward and his Korean mother, Kim Young-hee, had tea with first lady Kim Yoon-ok.
“Both athletes should be grateful for having such great mothers,” Kim was quoted as saying during the meeting. “Children always try to love their parents, but the greatest love comes from their mothers. Love always flows from the top to the bottom, just like water.”
The two made the news a few years ago after Ward was named the Super Bowl MVP and South Korea rushed to try and embrace him as its own. He was heralded a national hero and came to be cast as a symbol of shifting attitudes toward biracial children, though at the time people were proud of him more for being Korean than for being an agent of social change. His mother famously told the Chosun Ilbo in 2006, in response to the question "What does Hines think about the Korean blood that runs though his veins?"
Since he was young, he always got along well with the other Korean and Vietnamese kids. It seems like he does have some pride in his Korean blood. But we've also been hurt as Koreans. When Hines was in high school, there was an inter-school friendship match for the Korean students. Since he was good at baseball, a school invited him to play. But after the game, when the kids went out to eat, the person who put together the event only took the Korean kids, leaving Hines behind (Ward is of mixed parentage, his father an African-American). After that I told Hines to never hang out with Korean kids. Yet when we went to Korea in '98, even Korean people who looked educated spat when we walked by. Koreans judge others based on their appearance and their age. Those kinds of Koreans think that they are so special?"
I've written about Ward, Korea, and his remarkable work for biracial Koreans a few times:
* December 1, 2009: That Korean Hines Ward helmet.
* November 16, 2009: Hines Ward's "Helping Hands" and charitable work for biracial Koreans in the news.
* September 26, 2009: Hines Ward meets the president.
* December 21, 2008: Hines Ward movie coming out.
ROK Drop has also had kept track of all the news about Ward and Korea over the last few years.