Ki & the 2014 KNT jersey + a football solution to end the Russian/Ukraine cold war

At the risk of sounding like an ad, yesterday preorders went online for the Nike-contrived 2014 home Korean National team jersey -at least in the US – likely worldwide as well?  Nike released this promo featuring World Cup bound Ki Sung-Yeung.Ki+Nike+Korean WC2014Jersey


I’m wondering -while the Tavern has resisted online ads – would we dare enter a new realm and allow for a portal for Tavern goers to purchase the KNT jersey?  TBD…

The away jersey hasn’t been released yet, we’ll keep you posted…

Meanwhile the Tavern’s thoughts are not only on the upcoming friendly with Greece tomorrow, but on the fast moving events happening worldwide.  I have to ask: what were the Olympic committee and FIFA smoking when they thought it would be a good idea to grant a dictatorial thug in the form of Putin the honor of hosting the Winter Sochi “Pussy Riot” Olympics and the 2018 World Cup?  Both FIFA and members of the Olympic committee could certainly afford their crack of choice with what we can presume was an extraordinary amount of under the table bribes to buy the rights to host both events. I say this in light of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine this past week -it has the potential to undo the “Maidan” people-powered revolution that got rid of their corrupt autocratic ruler. The audacity of this invasion is staggering, mere days after the closing Olympic ceremony in Sochi –a sporting event dedicated to world peace.  Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel remarked that Putin has lost touch with reality. Par for the course with megalomanic unchecked power.

So…what’s FIFA to do now?  If the corruption-riddled body of FIFA has any iota of integrity and credibility left – they could move right away to remove Russia the right to host the World Cup – that is unless Russia (rather Putin) were to respect the sovereignty of the Ukraine – thus restoring some stability back in Europe. That action alone could -though not necessarily will – make Putin think twice before losing a potential propaganda tool to keep propping up the illusion that life is good in autocratic post-Soviet Russia. The World Cup is…well, the World Cup. It has a force of power and momentum of it’s own, both positively and negatively. It has the single largest viewership on the planet – and with it the perceived prestige of the event.  Putin, as a former head of the KGB, understands perceptions in order to maintain control.  Back to the here and now -on the ground in Russia, the narrative has of course been completely manipulated by state controlled media – giving Russians incorrect context and facts to the invasion. Putin does not care about his image with world leaders and worldwide condemnation in the face of this egregious invasion (reminds me of a past US president).  His hold on power relies on a careful orchestration that could unravel by a number of factors.  How ordinary Russians would perceive him for the consequences of worldwide consternation – if it results in the loss of hosting this ‘holiest of holy’ sporting event – now that’s something that will grab Putin’s attention. Admittedly it’s an unorthodox approach to solving this fluid and explosive situation – but it’s worth a look and it’s something within FIFA’s domain.


We’ve been very politically wonky this morning – so why not a little more?  Jim Yong Kim, -born in Seoul before his parents immigrated to Iowa, he is the former president of Dartmouth college and current president of the World Bank. He wrote in the Washington Post op/ed section last Friday and gave a stirring personal and cogent argument for why anti-gay laws are not only discriminatory, they don’t make business sense. Here’s a portion of his piece:

“Growing up in Iowa, I was often judged solely on appearance. In stores, strangers would make karate-chop gestures at me, inspired by the popular TV series “Kung Fu.” When I played quarterback for my high school team, opponents were not above slamming me to the dirt and then piling on racial slurs.

These incidents embarrassed me and made me self-conscious. But they are trifling indignities compared with the discrimination that many people around the world face based solely on their sex, age, race or sexual orientation. 

I raise this in light of the law Uganda enacted this week, which could imprison for life those convicted of homosexuality, and the increased violence against gays in Nigeria after an anti-gay law took effect there this year.

These countries are in the news now, but our focus should be much broader: 81 other countries — in the Americas, Asia, Africa and the Middle East — have passed laws that make homosexuality illegal. In the United States, although Arizona’s governor vetoed a bill this week that would have allowed businesses to deny service to gay people, nine states have laws that limit how public school teachers can talk about homosexuality. More than 100 countries discriminate against women. And an even greater number of countries still have laws that discriminate against minority groups.

Institutionalized discrimination is bad for people and for societies. Widespread discrimination is also bad for economies.There is clear evidence that when societies enact laws that prevent productive people from fully participating in the workforce, economies suffer…” 


The Tavern owner asks (rhetorically): presumably there are athletes in Korea who are (or were) not open about their sexuality to avoid discrimination – have they been diminished in their potential to represent Korea on the world stage?

In a separate but related question, has racism in a general sense prevented some quality Asian players from successfully integrating with their respective European club teams, and as a result, diminished their time on the pitch?

Not to open a can of worms, but culture / language / racism or perceived racism is something that all international players, Asian or not, have to contend with. To what degree it affects players on the pitch – both now and in the past?  Open questions to which I do not know…

In the US, Michael Sam made headlines recently for being the first openly gay American footballer to be potentially drafted in the NFL. It comes as no surprise then that ultra conservative lobbyists have seized Sam’s announcement to draft legislation forbidding the NFL from drafting gay players. Likely such attempts will not go anywhere in committee, but the battle against discrimination continues…

Lastly  – a relatively new international football blog WE GLOBAL FOOTBALL has tagged us, the Tavern, as their representative for the Taeguk Warriors on their site. Super! We are linking with them as they are continuing to meticulously highlight blogs representing different national teams. Their emphasis is on a unique international ranking system and algorithm.

They twittered to us yesterday: “We Global Football was made in an effort to provide a new alternative to FIFA ranks. We take more of a statistical approach. WGF has morphed into a huge database. We provide predictions for each match based on our rankings and will write pieces on any tournament, large or small. By accumulating a list of blogs, we wish to redirect people looking for more in-depth coverage of the nation they are looking for. They certainly aren’t limited to just WC participants. We hope to have as many countries represented as possible!

Dope!  They have an illustrator who is at this very moment, working on an individualized crest for the South Korean team. And just a moment ago they gave a shout to Jae for his excellent preview for the Greece friendly:

About Roy Ghim 454 Articles
The old Tavern Owner


  1. I can relate. Obviously Quebec is a province that is very proud of being QUEBECKER, and having pure “quebec blood”. Obviously there are some regions of the province that don’t affiliate themselves with this kind of thinking but the towns and smaller cities act in this manner. So me? Do I fit in? Not at all. I’m given strange looks and people won’t hold back and criticizing me for who I am. A proud Korean-Canadian. I’ve adapted well to the Quebec culture, I’ve learned the language and speak it fluently, but yet still I’m an outcast.

    Another interesting tidbit – Quebec is trying to pass a law that would forbid the wearing of religious items in work places. That means the minority of Muslims or Sikhs would be forbidden to wear their hijab or turban in government offices. I think the law only applies to government offices, like hospitals or embassies. Not sure about that part. Regardless, it is a law that is EXTREMELY discriminating since there is a special clause in the law that would allow for the huge cross in the “Congress” if you will of Quebec to remain standing. If this was a gigantic islamic mosaic things would be different.

    Just because I’m Christian doesn’t give me the right to tell others who they should/should not be. Why should I treat gays differently? If I was gay, and Christian, would I want to be treated like that? Why should we discriminate upon different sexes, religions, ethnicities? If you can’t accept other people that’s your fucking problem.

    Sadly, in many countries, by law, it’s everyone’s fucking problem. The state’s fucking problem. A Canadian politician Pierre Trudeau said, “The government does not belong in the bedrooms of the state.” Moreover, society is about accepting and celebrating differences. If we were all the same how could society advance? Why should people prevent others from contributing to society just because they were born in a way that does not suit them?

    I know this is a soccer/football blog, but this has to be said, since it is an omnipresent problem in society.

    When I’m over in Korea on vacation or whatnot, I’m still the foreign guy. Sometimes I feel lost with no place to call home. But in the end, I identify myself as Korean, and proud to be it. Haters gon’ hate.

    A famous actor whose name slips me at the moment said this, and I couldn’t agree more: “I want to live in a world where my kid could come home and say, ‘I like this guy! But I really like this girl! What do I do?’ and it would be such a non-issue.”

    It’s amazing to me how such civilized societies of select states of the US or Russia still have discriminating legislation. Or just around the world. Why should you be put to death for celebrating your difference? Your beliefs?

    I say fuck all. People all around the world should be able to live the good life and be proud to live it. And if it bothers someone how I want to live, then fuck them.

    But I’m lucky to live in a state where it’s illegal to treat people differently because of these differences (race, religion, sex, sexual orientation). It’s not like this around the world. And that needs to change. It’s the fucking 21st century.


      • And cheers Roy to a great post again. Sometimes these slightly “off-topic” tidbits are nice mention. It sparks a good debate – and sometimes it is oddly tied together with football.

        Another question is why is the World Cup going to a country that forbids drinking and homosexuality (punishable by death), Qatar? We have two World Cups in two homophobic countries.

        Heh, yeah, you can give Canada the 2026 World Cup now, thank you very much.

        • yeah, FIFA granting Qatar the World Cup in ’22 just defies all semblance of sense. There’s so many ways this has EPIC FAIL all over it – and already with the staggering labor death rate and abysmal labor conditions right now in constructing stadiums…it’s quite unbelievable. The tip of the iceberg for me: all these massive world cup stadiums being built in a country less than the size of, well let’s see on the interwebs: Qatar is 4,416 sq miles, Connecticut is 5,544 sq miles. Qatar is the 146th most populated nation in the world – mind boggling…

    • Since I live in the deep south of USA, there are many homophobic people around (I’m not one of them but I’m not a fan of gay marriage either). Extremely anti gay beliefs all around where I live. Even though I might disagree with you based on your belief on gays, I don’t think there should be laws passed so that gay marriage is absolutely illegal but I also don’t think there should be laws protecting it either. Understand what I mean?

      • I understand what you’re saying. However, what you’re saying ends up, unfortunately, being at odds with each other. If gay marriage is not illegal, but you don’t want it to be legal either, basically what that means is that you have a sort of status quo (although the status quo in many places is now explicitly anti-homosexual). What you are suggesting then is that gays can get married if they want to, but for legal purposes, their marriage will not be acknowledged, which then means that there are no spousal privileges such as power of attorney and estate management, etc. It ends up being incredibly unjust. Even if one doesn’t like homosexuality, it’s hard to justify being OK with a situation that would cause such unfairness. You know what I mean?

      • I believe that gays can get married and have the rights straights should. The only difference between gay marriage and straight marriage is the sexes of the people that are marrying. Or at least this is what I think.

        But hey, I respect all opinions and I understand your point of view. This is a good thing, this debate and the other ones here. It’s that. A debate. If only our clowns in parliament could debate once in a while instead of playing party politics. (In Canada, you don’t disagree with your party leader. If you do, you get the boot.)

    • Overall, I appreciate your statement. I just find it ironic that you state you “live in a state where it’s illegal to treat people differently because of these differences (race, religion, sex, sexual orientation)” in the same post where you just stated how there is, in fact, religious discrimination being attempted in your province. Lol. 😉 Thought I’d point that out to you.

  2. Okay, rant over, and the away kits are supposed to be like the home ones – except the “backpack stripes” will be red on one side and blue on the other. Don’t know what shorts we’re getting, but blue would be good.

    • I said in the other post regarding the kits that it would at least be somewhat more creative if the shoulder rings were red and yellow from the tri-colored taeguk. Anyone else know what I mean?

      • Yeah, the Red Devils have the tri-colored flags at the stadiums for any national team game. I think that would have gone better with the home kit (red/yellow/blue) though. Or maybe if they did a red/yellow/blue with the stripes/collar on the away.

  3. Discrimination based on race and disagreeing with homosexuality are two different things. You sound like a smart guy so I urge you to consider why.

      • The thing is, red’s comments aren’t even semantics. They are condescending, first of all, but aside from that, Roy was talking about ACTUAL discrimination that is taking place. While, Kimchi’s comment is hilariously to the point, Red’s semantics don’t even apply.

        Red, are you ok with discrimination? You seem to imply that you are not. Or are you suggesting discrimination based on certain things are ok? If so, which forms of discrimination are ok and which aren’t?

        But, if we take ‘race’ out of it, if you yourself say disagreement is not the same as discrimination, then you should have no objections people criticizing the actual discriminatory laws that are popping up all over the place. However, if your point is that the laws aren’t discriminatory and are merely disagreements, then you are the smart guy that needs to consider how that makes any sense. I’d love to hear it. At best, you can only argue that you are ok with discrimination based on sexual orientation but not with race. That’s beyond ‘disagreement’ and you prove your own point wrong by showing how your understanding of ‘disagreement’ actually is ‘discrimination.’

        My suspicion is that you read into Roy’s comments what wasn’t there. Of course, all these are lesser points if we want to talk about the bigger issue of whether people should really ‘disagree’ on homosexuality or not, since one can argue that it makes little sense if someone says, “I disagree with being Asian.”

        • Well to me he’s using a play on words to mean different things when in fact they are the same. Saying you don’t like homos is the PC way of saying you’re against them and more than likely, discriminate against them. Your second to last paragraph is exactly the point.

          • which is why i stated you were hilariously to the point. lol. although, i would add for your further edification, kimchi, i don’t think gays generally like to be called, “homos.” 😉

          • now let’s get specific here. what discrimination against homosexuals are you guys referring to and how is it akin to what the blacks faced during Jim Crow?

          • Hey Red? As Tavern Owner and default Tavern Bouncer I’m giving you a friendly reminder to keep your comment/question/discussion respectful. What you just submitted in your first sentence was anything but civil. But as a free speech advocate – I’ll vet and allow your 2nd question to remain, to which you asked Kimchi Cock: “…now let’s get specific here. what discrimination against homosexuals are you guys referring to and how is it akin to what the blacks faced during Jim Crow?”

            and I’ll go ahead and say this: the GLBT community here and particularly abroad has faced more than discrimination. They’ve been beaten, they’ve been forced out of jobs, they’ve been killed. This is still going on today in particular in countries like Russia and Uganda. From a BBC article that posthumously pardoned Alan Turing: “Turing’s work helped accelerate Allied efforts to read German Naval messages enciphered with the Enigma machine. He also contributed some more fundamental work on codebreaking that was only released to public scrutiny in April 2012.

            “His later life was overshadowed by his conviction for homosexual activity, a sentence we would now consider unjust and discriminatory and which has now been repealed,” said Mr Grayling.”

            Turing was castrated as part of his sentence. He was tortured and he died of cyanide poisoning in 1954. With the Queen’s pardon, there is the hope by campaign organizers for his pardon that “all the men convicted under the anti-homosexuality law would now be pardoned.” This kind of discrimination is appalling. His is a more profiled situation that occurred.

            Look, discrimination is discrimination. As Jae mentioned, someone being abused for being Korean -like someone being abused for being black, or for that matter being gay? It is related – it is abuse on the basis of the way they were born. If you disagree with that – I guess you’ll disagree, but I hope you can see past your prejudices and join people who are trying to make a better and less hate-filled world. Peace.

          • Roy may be a free speech advocate, but I believe in a little control and order. So your comment was edited to reflect Tavern guidelines.

          • that comment was not disrespectful. seriously, do you guys have any sense of humor? political-correctness is institutionalized lying.

            as for my question, I was obviously referring to discrimination against homosexuals in the US (hence the reference to Jim Crow laws).

            obviously the actual and real discrimination and crime against homosexuals abroad, particularly in Arab countries, is deplorable. but please, let’s talk about the country we live in. what discrimination is here against homosexuals that is akin to what happened under Jim Crow?

          • The bulk of your comment was fine, it was just the first sentence that ran a bit afoul of our posting guidelines. You may have written it in jest, but without context clues it is easy to read it as a personal attack (particularly given the subject).

            As for your point, I agree that homosexuals do not face the same level of discrimination (at a systematic level) as African-Americans under Jim Crow. BUT they do face discrimination, and that for me (and others) is the problem. Just because one group had it worse does not make it acceptable to discriminate against another. The relative level of discrimination is irrelevant, the fact that there is discrimination is the problem.

          • well, now i know what he said. lol. the argument that discrimination here isn’t as bad as somewhere else is a weak one. so it’s acceptable if it’s to a lesser degree? discrimination in the U.S. against Blacks is probably stronger than against Asians. Do I have to shut up about the way I get discriminated because it’s not as bad relative to another here in the U.S. or even relative to the way Asians get treated in Italy? as others said, discrimination is discrimination. If you don’t want to be friends with a gay person, so be it. however, they should be able to live their life with the benefits that I get. If homosexuality is inherently hurting someone, I might understand the need to discriminate, but I don’t see a logical argument that being gay is harmful to another being..

    • No doubt they are different. One can be someone who dislikes a gay lifestyle, no one is saying otherwise. Thing is, anti gay laws are in place, both in the US and in other countries, like in a more extreme case Uganda. In this country, I reference the struggle civil rights activists had to undo institutionalized discrimination. It does resonate broadly to the here and now. Beyond that, in a pluralistic society, both those that disagree and those who advocate for the rights of gay people should and can coexist in society. I do advocate for letting the facts speak for itself about the established discriminatory laws in place and about efforts to repeal them. To paraphrase MLK, the long arc of history bends towards justice, in widening freedom and diminishing discrimination.

  4. Does anyone else find the picture of Ki odd? He looks like he is in a goalie pose and surprised that the ball is coming his way. Lol.

  5. Roy, you’ve opened up a can of worms here.

    1. Russia and Qatar got the World Cup because they paid off/exchanged favors with the right people in FIFA. Russia hasn’t gotten much talk, but there’s plenty on Qatar. I suggest checking out some of the older episodes on “Beyond the Pitch” with guests from Change FIFA. Despite Russia’s blatant breach of international law in invading Ukraine, the World Cup will not be stripped from them. FIFA has managed to change the laws that “govern” them to the extent that all are safe from any criticism and calls for change.

    2. Racism and discrimination has certainly affected players, both in Korea and around the world. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that players who have gone to Europe in the past have suffered from discrimination and that is a reason why they failed. Plus Koreans are often poor travelers (unwilling to venture out of their comfort zones).

    3. As far as I’m concerned, being gay is like being Asian, white, tall, short, etc. It’s just who you are. So, anti-gay laws are pure discrimination period.

    • Would you say that it’s often the stubbornness of Korean’s that leads to them often failing in Europe or do you reckon it really is that hard?

      • Not saying its easy, but as in it’s a lot harder to gel with the team because they struggle with the language barrier

      • I’m speaking more to like 5-10 years ago, when the likes of Lee Dong-Gook, Seol Ki-Hyun, Lee Chun-Soo, etc. tried out. I’m sure the language barrier was a factor (despite the huge amounts of money spent on English education here, few actually achieve anything resembling fluency), but I find that Koreans have a somewhat limited, and rigid, view of foreigners and are somewhat uncomfortable being the minority. What I was getting at is that while I’m sure the players experienced some discrimination/teasing abroad, some of it is also the players inability to adjust/deal with the culture clash they experienced.

    • Aighh!! I didn’t mean to open this can!! Oh well… but yeah – bottom line: discrimination is discrimination. I think we will look back historically and wonder how some people were so bigoted and myopic in the early 21st century…just as the world looks at, say the Japanese occupation and their extreme 20th century version of manifest destiny. We shake our heads, we are aghast in reading about the atrocities, hearing the stories of our ancestors. The wrong side of history. To channel John Lennon: don’t you know that you can count me out…

  6. I think the main issue where there are such distinct two sides is that no matter what, each side isn’t willing to really listen to the other. I mean, I support gay marriage and homosexuality because I think “if someone loved someone as much as i love my partner, who are we to say no?”. In saying that, you wont see me shoving my opinion down peoples throats and telling them they are assholes because they dont support homosexuality, that is, in a sense, could be just as bad as being totally against it.
    With homosexuality comes religion, family, nature and all these other issues so it really isnt just a ‘people have a right to get married’ issue. I’m straight btw lerl

    • Not to pick on you, so before I say this I hoist the white flag of a truce.

      “I’m straight btw lerl”

      I see this happen too much. People who say stuff supporting gay rights or whatnot and then say “oh, by the way, I’m straight.” This sounds like a fear of being identified as gay despite supporting the cause because being gay would look bad.

      Now, I’m not saying you’re doing it. I’m sorry if I am targeting you personally – it’s just a remark that this happens far too often.

      I don’t believe all too much in labels. It’s just who you are. You don’t need to go around saying I’m this or I’m that.

      Anyhow, Roy maybe opened a can of worms but I’ve ruthlessly opened another 10.

      A change of topic? Expectations for the Greece game?

      • Everyone at the Tavern – I’m sorry to have gotten us this far off topic of our favorite football squad. Back to the Tavern for drinks everyone – even you Tim. In cyberspace, you are legit to drink.

        and just for shits and giggles – didn’t anybody (other than Jae) find traction with the football solution to ending Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine? (sigh) I guess I’m just an old Tavern owner….back to the drinks….

        • how many handles do you have??? and it’s your site, man. personally, i appreciate you bringing stuff up that could be controversial and letting people talk without it getting too combative. i’m sick of koreans either shying away from talking about racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.or not being heard or able to talk about it. so why not over a round of drinks anchored in korean soccer talk? i hope red didn’t feel bullied though and will still join us for some more drinks and discussion in the future.

          • Yeah that’s what I’m talking about! And the handles, I really only mean to use 1, but not being wordpress savvy, depending on the computer I’m on, it kicks me out to 2 different handles, but I think I figured it out so hopefully no more mult personalities

      • Nahhhh Tim, I understand what you’re saying haha, its like if i said “I think this person is ugly and has a shit personality, but i dont hate him” haha. Still sticking to the point where i believe ignorance of each others views is how its flared up so bad,

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