Monday, April 03, 2006

Well the Hines Ward mess has started and guess who got to get a picture with him. Mr President. (President Roh Moo-hyun)

April 03, 2006 ㅡ Hines Ward of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the 2006 Super Bowl's most valuable player, arrives in Korea today with his mother, Kim Young-hee.This is his first visit to the country of his birth since he left at the age of two with his parents. His father was an American soldier stationed here when Mr. Ward was born. Korea has adopted the American football star as its own, inspired by his prowess even if most people are baffled by the game.

His rags-to-riches story and his mother's sacrifices to raise him have touched a chord in the national psyche.
The visitors will lunch with President Roh Moo-hyun and his wife, Kwon Yang-sook, tomorrow and throw the first ball at the opening game of the 2006 Korea Baseball Organization season on Saturday at Jamsil Stadium in southern Seoul.
Korean companies have jostled for position in an effort to associate themselves with Mr. Ward and his mother.
Some less ethical businessmen reportedly have registered copyrights related to Mr. Ward or have passed themselves off as his representative here.

Lim Sang-hyuk, a lawyer representing the gridiron hero in Korea, said, "If necessary, Mr. Ward will take legal action against the illegal use of his name, portrait and other things." In a recent interview, Mr. Ward said, "It is sad that biracial people in Korea are discriminated against. I hope that I can help to change those biases."
He and his mother will be here until April 12. from gi korea.

For those that haven't seen it yet, Newsweek ran an article last week about Hines Ward. I was actually contacted by the reporter to provide some insight into the Hines Ward phenomenon. It is kind of interesting to see how the blogosphere can influence the reporting a mainstream media outlet. Anyway, the article was well balanced between explaining Hines Ward life, his admiration for his mother, and the bias towards mixed race children in Korea, but nothing really ground breaking that we haven't heard before.

I did find this passage interesting though:

Some Korean-American activists have also complained about the fact that Ward hasn’t contributed to the community yet. “If he’s going to be a role model, he should do something for the community,” gripes a representative of one Korean-American youth group.

I find it ironic that the same Korean-American groups that shunned him when he was younger are now making demands of him now. How about these groups do more for mixed race children themselves instead of making demands from Hines Ward.

This should be a very intrersting few weeks here.

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