Posted April. 14, 2007 07:56,
Updated November. 30, -0001 00:00
A veteran basketball player who spearheaded the founding of Koreas professional basketball league in 1997 regretted seeing a brawl between LG and KTF players in a semifinal game on April 12 and said, Were pointing fingers at each other. Its time that things changed.
Overzealous players and conflicts between players over referee calls are nothing new. But the situation has become worse in the playoffs this year.
The Pasco Incident, where Pasco resorted to violence to deal with players of an opposite team and a referee, leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of many.
The incident was in a way expected, but nothing had been done to prevent it. KTF players went on a full court press offense targeting LGs Pasco as their foreign player Aron Macgie was banned from playing the game that day. KTF coach Choo Il-seung said before the game, We will do everything we can to secure the victory in the 1st quarter or we will not stand a chance of winning in the 2nd or 3rd quarter.
The referees knew what was going on, so they should have punished KTF players with harsher measures, such as giving verbal warnings or other punishments, or talked to the coaches of both teams.
After the game, Shin Seon-woo, the LG coach, admitted, I should have called Pasco back to the bench to calm him down. But I also wanted to win. It was too late.
On Friday April 13, Pasco was kicked off the team, and the KBLs decision to disqualify him from all games in the future for good left him no choice but to leave the country.
However, his departure will not solve all the leagues problems. Fundamental solutions are urgently needed. A close review of the selection and management system of foreign players needs to be in place. For some time, a few foreign players have been a law unto themselves. Teams with poor scores are to blame as they have been treating the players like kings and have provided whatever they asked.
Referees also need to enforce rules in a consistent manner, because yesterdays incident could have been prevented if stricter forms of punishment had been applied.
For its part, the KBL should take the lead in making changes. The last thing Korean basketball fans want to see on the court is violence.