The big news going around Korean football circles today is an article written by Kim Hyeon-Hwe and appeared on Nate Sports. The article details some comments posted by Yoon Suk-Young and Ki Sung-Yueng through various social networking sites (namely Twitter and Facebook). The article has gained a fair amount of attention, and at this time of writing Ki Sung-Yueng (and the article) were some of the top searched words on portals Naver and Daum.
Before we talk a little about the article, a disclaimer. My Korean is fairly low-level. I can hold a basic conversation, watch TV shows and have a general understanding, and so on. But Reading full length articles is a bit much. So, if I have mistranslated something or am not accurately conveying the meaning correctly, my apologies. Also, warning. If you have a better grasp at Korean then I do, by all means, please correct anything I say in the comments.
So, the article. The article highlights one tweet by Yoon Suk-Young and some tweets and Facebook posts by Ki Sung-Yueng. Obviously due to his higher profile (particularly on the heels of his marriage to actress Han Hye-Jin), Ki Sung-Yueng is getting the bulk of the attention.
Yoon’s tweet was directed at Choi after Choi made some comments about a player’s ability and blood types. If you are unaware, Koreans tend to take blood types quite seriously, firmly believing that your blood type reflects your personality and traits (think like how some westerners treat star signs). Choi (I believe, I don’t really remember when he said this) said that for defenders, those with type O blood are the best. This falls in line with general Korean beliefs about type O blood. Natural leaders, athletic, driven, focused, and so on. Type B (which is the one he contrasted with) are considered to be selfish, sometimes lazy, and un-focused. Yoon’s tweet mocked Choi’s statement and he listed some defenders from the 2002 World Cup team with type O blood as well as some of the Olympic team defenders (and Park Ji-Sung).
While Yoon’s statement seems to literally back Choi Kang-Hee, the tone of it is quite mocking. Yoon seems to be stating, “yes, because all of these players had type O blood, that’s why we did well.” The sarcasm level seems to be quite high.
My best literal translation: “Semi-final round of the 2002 World Cup – Lee Young-Pyo, Kim Tae-Young, Choi Jin-Cheol, Song Jong-Kook. 2012 Olympic bronze medal – Yoon Suk-Young, Kim Young-Kwon, Kim Chang-Soo and the sadly missing Hong Jeong-Ho. Strangely all type O blood type. The other best defense Park Ji-Sung O blood type.”
Then we come to Ki Sung-Yueng. The main post that Ki is getting criticized for is one that he made last year when he was still at Celtic. In his post he seems to call Choi out for highly qualifying Ki’s good performance with Celtic that season. The impression I got from it (and again I may be wrong), is that Ki felt he was having a very good season with Celtic. Scoring a best 7 goals with the team. Ki also seemed to take a swipe at Park Chu-Young at Arsenal, saying that he [Park] was not doing as well as he [Ki] was. The impression is that Choi seemed to have told him that Celtic does not play in as competitive a league, which is why his numbers were better.
I don’t make much of the actual comments (assuming I got the general gist right), but it is a bit concerning how openly the two made these comments against the coach. Yoon Suk-Young made his on his twitter account (public) while Ki made his on his private Facebook account. I don’t imagine Ki thought they would be aired publicly, but still. . . I don’t necessarily disagree with what either said, in terms of correctness, but it does point to some underlying issues.
One is the reported ‘rift’ between the coach and the overseas players. Another is the slight arrogance that seems to be manifesting itself. A third is that within the sporting structure that is a team, it’s not acceptable to openly criticize the boss (even if the content is fairly benign). It seems apparent that Hong Myeong-Bo will have some relationships to heal and mend as he comes into the job. Another is that he will need to ensure that players stay humble and respectful. A third job he will need to do is make sure that players understand the dangers in using social media. Players getting in trouble over Twitter comments or Facebook, me2day, mini-hompi’s, and so on isn’t new. But it’s relatively uncommon within the national team, with most being wise enough not to put anything controversial on their accounts.
As the title of this post states, I think ultimately this situation is a bit overblown, but it is something that should be kept an eye on.