US basketballer booted out of Korean league for not respecting national anthem
Some basketball players sing along to the national anthem in South Korea, others stand in stony-faced silence, trying keep emotions in check.
Changwon LG Sakers American import Davon Jefferson, 28, chose to stretch and limber up. Big mistake.
He was kicked out by the Korean Basketball League team on Friday (March 20) after the 1.99m American sparked a backlash from fans in the build-up to Wednesday’s KBL playoff game against Ulsan Mobis Phoebus.
He was accused of not respecting the anthem.
This was the latest in a series of incidents involving the league’s top scorer.
Davon Jefferson (far left) was accused of not showing proper respect during the national anthem by refusing to stand up. Photo: YouTube
“The fans are the most important people to the team,” an LG official told Reuters on Friday.
“And when the fans turned their backs on Jefferson, the team chose to kick him out.”
The American had appeared at a news conference on Thursday trying to limit the damage.
“I did not ignore Korean culture or any culture at all,” Yonhap news agency quoted him as saying. “I just felt pain while the Korean national anthem was playing, so I did some stretching.”
The official was also keen to stress that the player’s nationality had played no part in the decision and that the team had no issues with their other American player, Chris Massie.
The Sakers later said in a statement that Jefferson had, “disappointed not only the fans but the nation as a whole and he had damaged the LG team’s honour”.
Sakers General Manager Kim Wae Tae offered his deepest apologies for the “disgraceful incident”.