South Korean first baseman Kim Tae Kyun is under scrutiny after seemingly racist comments about African-American Korea Baseball Organization player Shane Youman.
When asked which pitcher he dreaded facing the most, Kyun answered, “The Lotte Giants’ Youman is the most difficult player to play against. His face is too Black, so it is hard to bat because his white teeth and the ball confuses me when he smiles on the mound. So, I suffered a lot.”
According to Global Post, Kyun insists his comments were taken out of context.
“I was just trying to say that Youman was a good pitcher because he has deception in his delivery that makes it hard to read at the plate,” he said. “I have played in Japan and I know how hard it is for a player to adapt to a different culture. I am very close with the foreign players on my team like Denny Bautista (Dominican Republic).”
Kyun has since apologized to Youman, calling him “a great player.”
Youman, a Louisiana native, said he took the comments as Kyun trying to be funny and failing to think about the consequences, he told South Korean magazine Haps.
“People make mistakes,” Youman said.
South Korea is one of the most homogeneous societies in the world, with more than 99 percent of its population being of Korean decent. They even refer to themselves as “Dan-il minjok gun ga,” meaning “the single race society,” according to The Korea Herald.