For sport thugs time to send in Blade RunnerI like Lee Chun-soo. Especially when his little body explodes and he dribbles between defenders and leaves them in the dust. I still remember his equalizer against Togo in South Korea’s opening match in this year’s World Cup. What a beauty that was. Even his shrimp-sized eyes look good on him, but when he opened his mouth to curse not one but two refs earlier this month, I doubted that if his mother had seen it she would ever kiss him on his mouth again. You don’t have to be a lipreader to figure out what he said. Granted Lee was upset that his team-mate’s goal was disqualified for handball; but if you wonder why people don’t go to watch the K-League it’s because players disagree with the ref’s calls and disrupt the game so often that watching the game has become painful. Sometimes even coaches join in and call teams to the bench because they disagree with a specific call.
Lee got a six-game suspension and three days of community service imposed by his team and a 4 million won fine. If the K-League hopes to revive its fortunes one way is for it to establish firmer rules. If you raise even a pinky, touch or threaten a ref, or use foul language it should cost at least twice what Lee got, just to remind players that as role models they should set very high standards. Remember, kids are watching and they learn quickly. What they should learn from watching a game is that the rules and good sportsmanship always come before winning.
Nevertheless, it’s not only soccer that is suffering from this disrespect for authority. Basketball has its own share of players who threaten refs, and walking out on games is seen in several different sports. I have seen disagreements in the U.S. Major League when skippers go to a belly meeting with the umpire and occasionally get thrown out of the game. They don’t respond by starting a riot. I am an American football fan and I cannot remember when a ref ever had to run away from players out of fear that he might get flattened. Which makes me wonder: Is there no respect for authority in this country? Call me crazy but I think this disrespect for authority is something that has become so prevalent it could be called a disease.
How often have you seen a police officer tangling with a drunk person on the street? There is certainly no shortage of TV footage of drunk people creating havoc INSIDE police stations, never mind about back out on the streets. Drivers who are issued traffic tickets often choose to argue with police officers. They fight, they scream, “ajjeossi!” the word of choice for any dispute when trying to insult the other side. Then they throw the rhetorical question, “Do you have any idea of who I am, eh?” Don’t forget the stick-wielding protesters who send riot police for cover even though it is they who are breaking the law. Should I go on about how things have gotten out of hand?
There is no science to prove my case. Maybe people are losing their minds with the prospect of a nuclear neighbor but I know this: We have to start somewhere to bring order to our house, so why not let players know that no matter how ridiculous, rules are rules and we are going after them like a blade runner. That’s right. Like a blade runner.