At best, South Korean first baseman Kim Tae Kyun is just dumb. At worst, he’s flat-out racist.
The Hanwa Eagles slugger is drawing heavy flack for some cringe-inducing comments about fellow Korea Baseball Organization player Shane Youman, an American pitcher who starts for the Lotte Giants.
Oh, and one more thing about Youman: he’s black.
That, according to Kim, makes him especially difficult to play against. When asked by a sports radio host which pitcher he most dreaded facing at the plate, Kim replied: “The Lotte Giants’ Youman is the most difficult player to play against. His face is too black, so it is hard to bat because his white teeth and the ball confuses me when he smiles on the mound. So, I suffered a lot.” (Exact translations of the remarks vary, though no one disputes that Kim made a reference to Youman’s skin color.)
The remarks triggered an outcry from South Korean fans. Kim has since apologized to Youman — who he called “a great player” — and insisted his words were taken out of context.
“I was just trying to say that Youman was a good pitcher because he has deception in his delivery that makes it hard to read at the plate,” he said. “I have played in Japan and I know how hard it is for a player to adapt to a different culture. I am very close with the foreign players on my team like Denny Bautista [from the Dominican Republic].”
Youman himself shrugged off the controversy, saying stoically that “people make mistakes.”
Posted: June 14, 2013 at 04:15 AM | 142 comment(s)