Haps Interview: American Pitcher Shane Youman Reacts to Controversial Remarks
The star Korean slugger replied:
“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."
He then went on to add, “There’s no particularly difficult pitcher, but when I play against Youman, I screw up because of his white teeth.”
An eruption of negative comments ensued on Korean baseball forums as Korean netizens charged Kyun with making racist statements. The outpouring from fans caused both Kim and the Eagles to immediately issue personal apologies to Youman.
In an exclusive e-mail interview with Haps, Youman gives his take on the comments, the controversy and to baseball life for an African-American journeyman in Korea.
What was your reaction when you first heard Kim’s comments about you? Has there been any time when you felt your race or nationality played a role in how you were treated during your time playing here?
After hearing about Kim Tae-kyun from my translator initially I laughed, and said it was ok, not a problem, people make mistakes. After I thought about it for a bit, I became a little upset which is the initial reaction from someone who hears about something that's potentially racist towards them. No matter your ethnic background, you will either feel hurt, anger, or both when it comes to racism towards you.
As far as being here in Korea, I've never felt that my race, or nationality has played a role in how I've been treated. Then again, I'd never know, cause I don't speak Korean (lol).
Korean netizens were very vocal in your defense, calling Kyun’s comments “racist”. What is your feeling on their response to Kyun’s remarks about facing you from the batter’s box?
Knowing that fans, and friends here have been very vocal in defending me is very appreciated. However, after more pondering, I really feel that he made a big mistake, perhaps trying to be funny not thinking about the consequences of his words.
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