Monday May 29, 2023

Words, words, words from sports commentators turned into knives.

Park Chan-ho is rumored to be the target of Oh Jae-won’s sniping
Jegal Seong-ryeol calls Kim Bo-reum a ‘bully’ and prays for her safety

“There are one or two players who have made fools of themselves while commentating, but I don’t think they’ve ever been held accountable.” This is what SPOTV baseball commentator Oh Jae-won said in a recent YouTube interview. “I hate the Korean Express,” he said, apparently referring to Park Chan-ho, who commentates on baseball for KBS whenever there is an international game.

Yang Joon-hyuk tells the baseball team to take the duck boat

Park Chan-ho’s beef with Oh Jae-won dates back to 2014, when he was commentating on the national baseball team’s game at the Incheon Asian Games, and when Oh Jae-won stepped into the batter’s box, Park Chan-ho said, “In the past, Oh Jae-won called a ground ball hit to his body a foul,” adding that “Hollywood action shouldn’t be wrapped in wit”. Park Chan-ho was referring to the August 7, 2012, game between the Hanwha Eagles and the Doosan Bears, when, on a full count, Oh Jae-won hit a ball from Park Chan-ho for a ground ball, which was called a foul because it hit his body. If it hadn’t hit the body, it would have been an out. Oh then singled to center field.

In the past, baseball fans were outraged when Park Chan-ho was summoned for his “mouth,” and Oh Jae-won became an unscrupulous player. Later, when fans sent him a video of the game (where he was hit by a ground ball), he apologized during the broadcast, saying, “I think I made it difficult for my junior through a misunderstanding,” but the water had already been spilled. At the time, Oh Jae-won was bombarded with online abuse to the point where he seriously considered retirement.

Kang Baek-ho also suffered from Park Chan-ho’s behavior. During the bronze medal match against the Dominican Republic at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, he was almost in tears after his team came up short. He later said, “I was so devastated. I chewed eight pieces of gum because I was so nervous.” But Park Chan-ho commented, “You can’t do that. Once again, Park Chan-ho’s words became a flashpoint, and Kang Baek-ho was criticized by the public.

The witch hunt was intensified by the national baseball team’s poor performance (4th place). His batting average in the KBO (0.395) dropped to just 0.294 in the second half of the season, down from nearly 4% before the Tokyo Olympics. Worse yet, whenever he made a sloppy or somewhat outlandish play, he was criticized twice as much as other players. This is largely due to the fact that he was labeled a “troublemaker” after the chewing gum incident at the Tokyo Olympics. To borrow a phrase from Oh Jae-won, Park Chan-ho became an “idiot player” because of his words.

There was another case where a baseball expert’s words crossed the line. Yang Jun-hyuk, a baseball commentator for MBC Sports Plus, commented on his YouTube channel about the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) against Japan, saying, “Korea has been competitive in international tournaments so far, and (the Korea-Japan game) was the best sloppy game I’ve ever seen,” and blatantly criticized national team manager Lee Kang-chul, saying, “If he runs the game like this, I think he shouldn’t be the national team manager.”

Yang Jun-hyuk went a step further, saying, “If you lose to China, don’t come here, just play social baseball in Japan and beat the national team,” and mocked the comment section, saying, “You have to come by boat, duck boat.” He said this on his personal broadcast. Although it was said on a private broadcast, it was not something that a professional baseball legend and expert would say. In response to Yang Jun-hyuk’s ‘duck boat’ comment, a baseball player said, “It was too easy to say something in private. I feel bitter that he made baseball juniors a target of ridicule just to get clicks.”

It’s not just in baseball that commentators’ subjective assessments can hurt players. The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, also had an example of an athlete being hurt by an incorrect broadcast.

Court ruling reveals Kim Bo-rim is a ‘victim, not a perpetrator’

SBS ice commentator Jegal Seong-ryeol, covering the speedskating team pursuit semifinals, strongly criticized Kim Bo-rim and Park Ji-woo for crossing the finish line behind a far behind Ryu Ji-young. “As a senior, I feel bad that this happened,” he said, adding fuel to the fire of the so-called “bullying” controversy. Fellow caster Bae Sung-jae also said, “It was the worst team overtake ever.” In fact, Kim Bo-Reum and Park Ji-Woo’s run was a common sight in team pursuit, as they were somewhat ignorant of how team pursuit works.

However, the comments of Jegal Sung-ryul, who is known as an expert in speed skating, stirred public opinion. In the post-race interview, Kim’s wry smile turned into a sneer directed at Roh Ji-young. Kim was quickly labeled a “bully” and had to compete in an individual event while being booed at the first Winter Olympics held in South Korea. Politicians such as Yoo Min-sin and Ahn Min-seok also joined the witch hunt against Kim. The whole country was stirred up by the words of Jegal Seong-ryul. She was accused of all sorts of things and had to undergo psychotherapy for a while.

The subsequent trial turned public opinion on its head when it was revealed that Kim Bo-rim was the victim of Ryu Ji-young’s bullying and verbal abuse. Recently, the court ruled that “Rho Ji-young should compensate Kim Bo-rim with 3 million won”. Despite the fact that Kim Bo-Reum was the victim and not the perpetrator, neither Jegal Seong-Ryeol nor Bae Sung-Jae were held accountable for the words they spat on the terrestrial broadcast. They will probably be sitting in the broadcasting seats at the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo. Because of this, many people still recognize Kim as a bully to this day.안전놀이터

Thanks to YouTube and other platforms, sports commentators have become increasingly outspoken. The focus on ratings and clicks has led to emotional responses, not rational ones, even though they are labeled as “experts.” Sometimes they say what their viewers or subscribers want and need, even if it is not exactly true. When they have to correct the wrong facts, they are afraid to go against the tide of public opinion and close their mouths.

There was certainly a problem with the way Oh Jae-won criticized Park Chan-ho, as he is now a commentator for a broadcasting company. However, it’s worth reflecting on what he was really trying to say. With words come responsibilities. Because when words become swords, there are those who are cut and stabbed and hurt. Are we careful with fire? No. I am careful with my words. If you’re a professional, you should be.


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