The World Baseball Classic (WBC), called the ‘Baseball World Cup’, opens next month after six years. The Korean national team participating in this event had a problem with the composition of the members even before the start of the schedule. It was controversial that pitcher An Woo-jin (24, Kiwoom) was omitted from the national team list announced on the 4th of last month.

Ahn Woo-jin is a pitcher who ranked first in ERA and strikeouts in the KBO (Korea Baseball Organization) league in the 2022 season. Looking at his performance alone, he was a good candidate for the national team, but he could not make it to the national team because of school violence he committed during high school. He was first nominated for Nexen (currently Kiwoom) in 2017 when he was a junior at Whimoon High School. He was found to have assaulted a junior in the baseball team and was suspended for three years by the Korea Baseball Softball Association (KBSA). Nexen handed him a 50-game suspension.

There is a provision in the Korea Olympic Committee’s national team selection regulations that ‘a person who has been suspended for more than three years cannot become a national team member permanently’. As a result, Ahn Woo-jin cannot be permanently selected for the Olympic and Asian Games teams, where the Korea Sports Council is the main body. However, since the WBC is a tournament supervised by the MLB (U.S. Professional Baseball) Secretariat, it does not fall under the aforementioned discipline. Even though there was no problem with Ahn Woo-jin’s entry into the WBC national team, the KBO ignored him, saying, “We considered various things such as the symbolic meaning of the national team, responsibility, and pride along with the player’s skills.”

There is a conflict between public opinion supporting the KBO’s decision and public opinion saying it is unreasonable to impose sanctions even after the disciplinary action is over. The remarks of Choo Shin-soo (41, SSG) from MLB further fueled the controversy. He appeared on a Korean radio show in the US in the middle of last month and said, “It seems that forgiveness is not easy in Korea. I regretted my mistakes when I was young and was punished, but I cannot participate in international competitions.”

Running on the label of school violence, being expelled from the country

In the past few years, in domestic professional sports, the facts of past school violence have been revealed, and punishment or expelled cases have not ceased. Lee Jae-young and Lee Da-young (27), twin sisters from the national team who were stars representing women’s volleyball, left Korea side by side in 2021 and headed for the Greek League. During high school, violence, threats, and harsh behavior were revealed, and he was disqualified from the national team and was virtually expelled from the domestic professional stage. Her younger brother, Dayoung, currently plays in the Romanian League. Her older sister Lee Jae-young is said to be staying in Korea under her invincible status. Lee Jae-young is currently a free agent, so it’s okay to sign with any team in Korea. However, conscious of the negative public opinion, no team is easily promoting his recruitment. Ahead of the opening of the 2022-2023 season, the new team Pepper Savings Bank considered recruiting Lee Jae-young to reinforce its power, but faced strong opposition from fans and it became nothing. An official from the volleyball world said, “If Lee Jae-young returns to Korea, his skills are sure enough to raise the overall league level.” abandoned,” he said.

Baseball player Kim Yoo-seong (21) was nominated for the first time in NC in 2020 when he was a senior in high school, but the nomination was withdrawn after being known for abuse during middle school. The withdrawal of the first nomination in professional baseball was unprecedented. After going to Korea University, he participated in the 2023 KBO rookie draft held last year in his sophomore year and was nominated by Doosan. Doosan coach Lee Seung-yeop said, “I hope Kim Yu-seong apologizes to the victim. I also intend to go with you and apologize,” but the fan heart is still cold. At the club event held at the Jamsil Baseball Stadium at the end of last year, when Kim Yu-seong greeted him, it was reported that applause and booing erupted from the crowd at the same time.

In the meantime, there have been many players who have caused controversy due to assault, drunk driving, gambling, and taking prohibited drugs, but many of them have been punished and disciplined and returned to the stadium after self-restraint, receiving support from fans again and being selected for the national team. On the other hand, the abusive player has a particularly difficult atmosphere to forgive. What distinguishes school violence from other cases is that there are victims, not just one person who deviates. In addition, most of the incidents occurred in a relationship between seniors and juniors, and there is a reason that the pain is greater as much as the victim suffered damage in adolescence. “Violence is a direct crime against others. School violence, in particular, is more likely to be criticized by the perpetrator in that the victim is an adolescent with a less mature personality.”

Punish severely, but establish standards and maintain fairness

There is no room for disagreement that the perpetrators of abusive behavior should be punished appropriately. The issue is whether it is reasonable for the perpetrator to continue to receive disadvantages even after the disciplinary action is over. Prohibiting participation in games and selection of the national team restricts the rights of players, so appropriate grounds and standards must be prepared, but currently sanctions are imposed according to public opinion without a clear standard.

When the claims of the victim and the perpetrator are conflicting, it is also controversial that disciplinary action is given before a judicial judgment is made. In the meantime, if there is a suspicion of abuse by an active player, the club first grasps the facts and reports it to the federation or association, and the federation or association opens a reward and punishment committee to set the level of disciplinary action. Clubs, federations, and associations are not organizations with investigative powers, so if the claims of the parties differ, there is a limit to figuring out the truth, but the reality is that they are conscious of public opinion and punish them first.

For this reason, inside and outside the sports world, there are points such as “Even if severe punishment is imposed due to inflated reports or exaggerated disclosures, it is difficult to withdraw or correct later.” It is pointed out that it is necessary to prepare an institutional device for each federation and association to ascertain the facts.

It is also worth considering a system that objectifies the level of disciplinary action to some extent depending on the disposition of the school violence committee and the details of criminal punishment. In fact, in the case of drunk driving, the KBO varies the level of sanctions depending on license suspension (70 game suspension), license revocation once (1-year disqualification), 2 times (5-year disqualification), and 3 or more times (permanent disqualification). Ji Seong-woo, a professor at Sungkyunkwan University Law School, said, “Social criticism is a responsibility that perpetrators of school violence must bear, but determining whether or not to take a disciplinary action based on public opinion and the level of punishment may violate the principle of presumption of innocence and the principle of proportionality.” If we do not set up a system that determines what kind of punishment an action is subject to, the social cost will increase,” he said. 토토사이트

Of course, the perpetrators must first of all apologize and reflect before claiming their rights. In the process, it is also important not to create something that could raise doubts about its authenticity. The fact that Lee Jae-young and Lee Da-young were also questioned about the sincerity of their apology after the incident broke out became a decisive reason for public opinion to turn their backs. Professor Koo Jeong-woo said, “The offending player must atone for their mistakes and show an attitude of taking responsibility so that there is a possibility of being forgiven by the public.” There is also a need to actively express it through “.

[Ahn Woo-jin seeking forgiveness… Should I take off the school violence label?]

In 2017, four students were identified as victims of assault by Ahn Woo-jin. While admitting that they were beaten during the police investigation and the Whimungo School Violence Committee, they signed an agreement saying they did not want punishment. The investigation ended with a non-indictment, and the school issued a disposition for volunteering on campus. The case itself seemed to be over.

However, five years later, in November of last year, when it became known that An Woo-jin was threatened with acid terror through an online post during the Korean Series, it drew attention again. An Woo-jin was not nominated for the Choi Dong-won Award despite showing the best pitching last season. As a result, 3 out of 4 victims issued a joint statement. Those who called themselves A, B, and C said, “We did not accept the situation as an assault. I thought it was the level of admonition of a senior that can be in the athletic club.” “Ahn Woo-jin was a good senior who took good care of us.”

A while later, Ahn Woo-jin also released a statement saying, “My juniors forgave me during the school riot and police investigations, and now they are cheering me on.” However, he also said, “I constantly reflected and apologized for not being a better senior to my juniors and for not being more careful about even small actions at the level of admonishment as a senior.”

Two of A, B, and C are said to be in baseball, and one has a different job. They said that they kept in touch with Ahn Woo-jin and ate together at the end of last year.

On the other hand, one other victim (hereafter D) said that his relationship with An Woo-jin was somewhat distant. D’s position is not exactly known. He is currently serving in the military, and at the time the admission statement came out, he was said to be in a training center and could not be visited. In this situation, D’s family was reported to have felt regret after not communicating for 5 years, as if they agreed with the contents of A, B, and C, as if up to D agreed. Ahn Woo-jin’s side also agrees with this. Baek Sung-moon, an attorney representing Woo-jin An, said, “When Woo-jin An comes back to Korea after finishing the training in the US, he wants to meet D first, and if there is any misunderstanding, he wants to be forgiven and get along well.”

In the legal world, it is said that it is realistically difficult for Ahn Woo-jin to recover his qualification as a national representative. However, if all the victims are forgiven, at least the burden on the heart can be relieved.

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