There’s a lot to be said for the disciplinary action taken against players who were caught drinking during the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC).
In particular, there has been a lot of criticism of cotton-batting as a punishment.
Kim Kwang-hyun (SSG), Lee Yong-chan (NC), and Chung Chul-won (Doosan), who previously represented Korea in the WBC, were recently disciplined by the KBO after they were caught drinking alcohol at a bar outside their hotel during the tournament in Tokyo, Japan, in March.
The KBO Punishment Committee deliberated and decided to impose 80 hours of community service and a fine of 5 million won on Kim Kwang-hyun, who damaged the dignity of the national team by visiting a bar twice during the tournament, and 40 hours of community service and a fine of 3 million won on Lee Yong-chan and Chung Chul-won, who visited a bar once.
In the case of the national soccer team, four players were suspended for one year for drinking during the 2007 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup.
By comparison, the KBO’s punishment was a slap on the wrist.
Kim Kwang-hyun’s salary last year was 8.1 billion won. This year, his salary is 1 billion won. Lee Yong-chan is also a high earner, and last year’s Rookie of the Year, Jung Chul-won, is also in the billion-dollar range. It’s safe to say that a fine wouldn’t really hurt them.
Of course, the penalty committee has a point.
Suspension from the national team, 토토사이트 a common punishment in other sports, is less effective. Kim Kwang-hyun, who is in his mid-30s, announced his retirement from the national team after the WBC, and Lee Yong-chan, who is the same age, is unlikely to wear the Korean flag in the future.
The only player who could be affected by a ban or suspension is Jeong Chul-won. However, it would be unfair to penalize only Chung with a national team ban.
Add to that the fact that there are no clear penalties for disgraceful behavior such as alcohol consumption by national team players during national team call-ups, and the cotton batting controversy is somewhat predictable.
Let’s put aside the punishment, which was somewhat inevitable. What is unfortunate is the fall from grace of the Taekwondo authority.
After suffering back-to-back first-round exits at the 2013 and 2017 WBCs, the Korean baseball team used the tournament as an opportunity to restore its popularity.
The national team players, who live and die by the support and love of their fans, had to feel a sense of responsibility and mission at the WBC.
However, the fact that some players were found to have been drinking during the national team’s training camp, if not the day before the tournament, shows how unhealthy the mindset of some of them was.
In particular, the KBO Investigation Committee found that Kim Kwang-hyun headed straight to a bar on the seventh day after the team arrived in Tokyo. While one player can’t speak for the entire squad, Kim Kwang-hyun is a veteran of the national team who has seen his fair share of ups and downs, so the disappointment and betrayal felt by fans is palpable.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow that the KBO’s cotton-batting punishment controversy has only resulted in a mere 5 million won fine for highly paid players.