Suspended volleyball twins expected to return next season
Twin volleyball players Lee Jae-young and Lee Da-young, who were indefinitely suspended in February following accusations that they bullied their teammates when they were in middle school, are expected to return next season, the Heungkuk Life Insurance Pink Spiders said Tuesday.
The sisters were embroiled in a scandal in February, when a former middle school teammate of the pair accused them of being bullies when in school, listing 21 specific allegations including claims that one of the sisters threatened her with a knife. The accuser said there were at least three more victims bullied by the same perpetrators.
Retrospective accusations of school bullying have become common in Korea, with a number of high profile celebrities accused of mistreating former classmates when they were young. Although the accusations are often more than a decade old, organizations have acted quickly to punish the perpetrators amid considerable backlash from members of the public who think that their success sets a bad example.
In the case of the Lee twins, both the Pink Spiders — the team both sisters played for — and the Korean national team indefinitely suspended the pair. They were also banned from ever holding coaching positions.
The sisters in February apologized for their "irresponsible behavior," while refuting some of the claims. They were both forced to sit out the remainder of the 2020-21 season, with the Pink Spiders slipping into second place in the league following the loss of the two star players.
Pink Spiders General Manager Kim Yeo-il on Tuesday reportedly told the board of directors of the Korea Volleyball Federation that Lee Jae-young and Lee Da-young will be registered as athletes in time for the final entry for the 2021-22 V League season on June 30, presumably signaling that the pair's indefinite suspension is over.
According to the Joongang Ilbo, Kim also told the federation that the team would cooperate with Lee Da-young's efforts to move overseas, with the setter apparently looking to play in Greece in the coming season. Lee Jae-young is expected to continue playing in the V League.
There has been no indication that the twin's indefinite suspension from the national team will end soon. The suspension came as a big blow to the national team, as both sisters were among the biggest names on the squad. The two played alongside national team star Kim Yeon-koung at the Pink Spiders, and this experience working together was expected to be a big boost to the Korean team.
BY JIM BULLEY [firstname.lastname@example.org]