온라인카지노Professional soccer players who sparked controversy with racist remarks have been disciplined.
The Korean Football Association (KFA) held a punishment committee on the afternoon of Feb. 22 and imposed sanctions of 15 million won ($15,000) and a one-match suspension on Lee Myung-jae, Lee Kyu-sung, and Park Yong-woo of the K League 1’s Ulsan Hyundai for exchanging racist comments on social media.
The Ulsan club was also fined 30 million won for its management of the team. This is the first time a penalty committee has been held for racism in the 40 years of the K League (related article: “Southeast Asia” to a dark-skinned teammate… Ulsan players apologize for ‘racism’).
Racist conversation, even mentioning Thai players by name
Ulsan won their 2023 K League 1 match against Jeju United 5-1 on Oct. 10. Lee Kyu-sung praised Lee Myung-jae’s performance on social media, writing, “Southeast Asian quarterback is solid.” Lee compared Lee Myung-jae, who has a dark skin color, to a Southeast Asian player.
Soon after, Ulsan captain Jung Seung-hyun praised Lee Jae-myung as “amazing,” and this time, Lee Myung-jae replied to Jung Seung-hyun, “It’s because of you. Asian quarter” and teased that Jung Seung-hyun, who has a similar skin color to him, is also a Southeast Asian player.
Park Yong-woo then commented, “Sasalak form crazy,” in response to Lee Myung-jae. He even brought up Sasalak Hyprakorn, a Thai international defender who used to play for Jeonbuk Hyundai.
Football fans criticized the comments as racist, and Jeonbuk, where Sasalak played, responded on their official social media with the words “NO ROOM FOR RASICM” and “Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC is against racism.” The players deleted the comments.
The players deleted the post and comments, but as the controversy spread, Park Yong-woo eventually posted an apology.
First ‘racism’ discipline in 40 years of the K League
The KFA has a rule that allows it to impose disciplinary sanctions of up to 10 games or a fine of up to 10 million won for racist remarks or behavior.
“Although the players did not intend to demean or insult a particular race or individual, it is still racist or a violation of human rights to distinguish people based on racial characteristics such as skin color and appearance, or to make them the subject of jokes,” the federation said.
However, some have criticized the one-game suspension as a slap on the wrist compared to the racist remarks made by several players, including referring to foreign players by their real names.
However, even overseas, it is rare for a player to be suspended for a long period of time for racist remarks on social media, and it is difficult to find a “reference point” because there are no cases of racial discrimination in other professional sports in Korea, let alone soccer.
Park Yong-woo, in particular, became even more controversial when he participated in the national team’s A-match after his racist remarks.
In a separate press conference on the same day, national team coach Jürgen Klinsmann said, “I will always be in front of the players. You have to be respected as a person before you are a player,” and defended Park, saying, “I will always be there for them when they need help.”
Meanwhile, the federation said it will “strive to strengthen education and human rights awareness for the players to prevent recurrence.”