BUSAN, South Korea — Racism-related controversy has again hit the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) as popular sports cartoonist Bounce Kim published a comic strip on Nate.com depicting Dominican Republic LG Twins pitcher Radhames Liz as a robot-like figure being chased by the Ku Klux Klan.
This following Sunday’s game against Samsung, when the 29-year-old Liz beaned Bae Young-seop in the helmet during the sixth inning of play, forcing Bae to be removed from the field in the back of an ambulance.
Liz then proceeded to strike out the next three batters and briefly celebrated while leaving the mound following the third out.
Kim’s comic was intended to reflect the bitterness of those observers who felt that Liz celebrating the consecutive strikeouts was uncalled for, but initial public reaction says that it was Kim that went too far.
Kim, who publishes his strip several times a week, used the three K’s, which in baseball terminology indicates a strikeout, to produce what many now see as highly inappropriate humor. As of Monday, Nate.com had pulled the strip and Kim publicly apologized on his Facebook page.
As much as I love my country, I believe my country can do better. And, it disappoints and frustrates me to see some ignorant cartoonist post something like this.’
According to Dan Kurtz at MyKBO.net, Liz, who came up in the Baltimore Orioles farm system and had a brief stint in the Major Leagues, has hit a total of 20 batters this season and leads the KBO in bean balls this year.
Earlier this month, Liz hit SK Wyverns batter Choi Jeong twice in one game, visibly infuriating Choi, as well as SK fans.
More Bad Press for the KBO
The KBO has already been embroiled in racial controversy this year, most notably in June when Hanwha’s Kim Tae-kyun caught flak for saying that Lotte Giants’ African-American ace Shane Youman was the hardest pitcher in the league to hit because his face is too black, so it is hard to bat because his white teeth and the ball confuses me.
The public outcry was so severe that the KBO was urged by Korea’s National Human Rights Commission to prevent such occurrences in the future. But, like individual players expressing themselves, cartoonists are beyond the baseball organization’s control.
Writing on the MyKBO Facebook page, commenter Hyun-sung Kim expressed his disappointment with Bounce Kim’s comic strip and how it affects perceptions of his homeland.
As much as I love my country, I believe my country can do better. And, it disappoints and frustrates me to see some ignorant cartoonist post something like this in the name of âI-didn’t-know-it-would-cause-this-much-trouble.”
Radhames Liz has yet to make a public statement on the comic.
Bounce Kim’s comic, with translation.
Update – Cartoonists reportedly will not be disciplined: