Sports Outside the Beltway

Hines Ward Goes To Korea

Hines Ward still basking in Super Bowl MVP glow.

“I’m sick of these Super Bowl commercials you see for Sports Illustrated,” Ward said yesterday, smiling widely for a man so ill from seeing himself on TV. “Everywhere I go, in a bar, people look up, they look at me, they look up, they look at me: ‘Hey, that’s Hines!’

“They have the camera phone. They’re right here in your face. I’m like oh, geez, I can’t do anything.”

Then, the thought hits him.

“Hey, Peyton Manning isn’t doing that now.”

This coming from a man who is ALWAYS smiling, really.

Also, his trip to Korea could be a REALLY good thing for racial relations in that country:

In his wildest dreams, back to his days as a schoolboy, Ward never thought it would feel so good to win a Super Bowl. He also never dreamed he could use the game and his newfound celebrity as a platform to promote societal change in an entire country. His April visit to South Korea, scheduled long before the Super Bowl, was to be a quiet trip where his mother could introduce him to the land where he was born.

Then came the Steelers victory against Seattle and Ward’s Super Bowl MVP award, and he became Korea’s rock star. There, he discovered disturbing racism. He wants to seize the moment to help kids like himself, biracial, who are shunned, often officially, in that country.

“Because of the way the society views biracial kids, you can’t get a job, nobody’s going to accept you,” said Ward, the son of a Korean mother and an African-American father who was stationed there. “If you do play athletics, your teammates treat you like [dirt]. For kids, me being over there helped provide a sense of hope. If I can do anything, as far as using my status, my accolades to help give them an opportunity, hopefully society will change its views.”

I speak from second hand experience when I say that this uglier aspect of Korean society is real. I know an engaged couple who put their engagement on hold for many years because of the objection of the Korean father for precisely this reason. I hope that Ward and others can contribute toward a change here.

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Reading about the bi-racial aspects of Mr. Ward and his desire to connect and honor his Korean heritage, prompted me to write this letter.
I’m now 56 but when I was 13, I read about black soldiers fathering and then leaving their bi-racial children after their tour of duty. I saw pictures of many children with lost expressions on their faces. The report went on to explain how they were considered outcasts and were subjected to daily cruelties and that no one cared. I cared and I vowed to, one day, adopt children. At age 42, I did, an 18 month old boy. 18 months later, I adopted a 2 year old boy and his 1 year old sister. My children are now 14, 12, and 11.
Mr. Ward, I am now retired, single and at my age, not considered such a prime candidate for adopting. I feel differently. I would dearly like to fulfill the vision of that 13 year old girl. My children are in agreement to growing our family.
If it is in your mind to assist, by expediting, adoptions of bi-racial Korean children, please consider my family. I know this is coming form left field, so to speak, and football season is beginning, but, I didn’t know how else to make my wishes known. I’ve heard that international adoptions can cost upwards of $40 thousand dollars, which means, it couldn’t happen for us. While I’m prepared to take on the “life time” expense of raising a child, that kind of outlay would deplete my reserves.
Mr. Ward, I apologize for approaching you about this very personal matter by this forum, but, I wanted to seize the first opportunity to communicate the feelings and wishes of my family and I.
Thank you for any answer or direction you may provide.

Warmest regards,

Teresa Lynn Mackey
May 16, 2006

Posted by Teresa L. Mackey | May 16, 2006 | 10:40 am | Permalink

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