The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) has handed down community service and financial penalties to Kim Kwang-hyun (SSG), Lee Yong-chan (NC), and Chung Chul-won (Doosan) for their controversial drinking behavior during the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC).
The KBO held a punishment committee meeting at the Dogok-dong Baseball Hall in Gangnam-gu, Seoul at 11 a.m. on July 7 to determine the level of discipline for Kim Kwang-hyun, Lee Yong-chan, and Jeong Chul-won. It announced the punishments at 5 p.m. and concluded after a marathon meeting that lasted about six hours.
The punishment committee met behind closed doors and the three appeared in person. Dressed in black suits, they arrived at 11:00 a.m. and left short statements saying, “I will do my best” and “I will do my best” before going to the meeting room.
About an hour later, the three completed their testimonies and stood in front of the press again. “I gave my testimony for the last time and told the truth without lying,” said Kim Kwang-hyun, adding, “I will accept the results of the penalty committee. I apologize for causing trouble once again.” Lee Yong-chan said, “I told the truth as stated in the police report, and I will wait for the result and accept it,” and Chung Chul-won bowed his head, saying, “I sincerely testified based on the facts, and I am truly sorry.”
On the 30th of last month, a media outlet reported that some of the players who represented their country at the WBC had been drinking alcohol during the tournament, especially at a nightclub in Akasaka, Tokyo, Japan, from the day before the game until the early hours of the morning. The report did not mention the players’ real names, but detailed their positions, saying they were a starting pitcher, a right-handed bullpen pitcher, and a right-handed closer.
Kim Kwang-hyun, Lee Yong-chan, and Jeong Chul-won later admitted to drinking alcohol and apologized. However, they claimed that they did not visit any entertainment venues the day before the game, contrary to the media’s reports. They claimed that they drank alcohol at a snack bar on March 7, the day they traveled from Osaka, Japan, to Tokyo, and on March 10, the day before the rest day, and that the female waitresses were not present.
In response, the KBO established an investigation committee that requested the players to submit statements of explanation and conducted a face-to-face investigation. The committee also contacted the manager of the named Tokyo nightlife establishment via telephone to confirm the date and time of entry, payment, and the presence of staff.
Separately, the Investigation Committee conducted three full investigations of all KBO players, with the exception of two players who were playing in overseas leagues, to determine whether they entered or left bars during the tournament. Except for Kim Kwang-hyun, Lee Yong-chan, and Chung Chul-won, all 25 players confirmed that they did not visit bars.
The three athletes submitted their credit card details to the Investigation Committee to verify their whereabouts in Tokyo. The Investigation Committee made efforts to verify the facts through face-to-face interviews with the players and the managers of the bars.
The investigation revealed that Kim Kwang-hyun entered the venue twice: on March 7, when the team arrived in Tokyo, and on March 11, shortly after the end of the Japan game. Chung Chul-won accompanied Kim Kwang-hyun on one occasion on March 11, and Lee Yong-chan visited the location separately from the two players after the game on March 11.
After deliberation, the committee imposed a punishment of 80 hours of community service and a sanction of 5 million won on Kim Kwang-hyun for damaging the dignity of the national team by visiting a nightclub on two occasions during the tournament based on Article 151 of the KBO Constitution. Lee Yong-chan and Chung Chul-won, who visited the bar once, were each given 40 hours of community service and a 3 million won fine.메이저사이트
The team finished the tournament with two wins and two losses, placing third in their group, and suffered their third consecutive first-round exit. In particular, the team’s worst performance in the first match against Australia resulted in a 7-8 loss, and they were humiliated by Japan with a 4-13 defeat. To add insult to injury, it was recently revealed that the three players had been drinking alcohol during the tournament.
The KBO has once again apologized for the controversy surrounding the national team players’ drinking during the tournament, which saw them perform below expectations. “We deeply apologize for the lack of management of the national team,” said a KBO official, “and we will thoroughly prepare and work to prevent such incidents in the future by further refining the national team operating rules.”