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KBO club Dinos hand down own punishment on players banned for social distancing violation

All News 17:27 August 30, 2021

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Aug. 30 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean baseball club NC Dinos on Monday issued their own penalties on players banned by the league for violating social distancing rules.

Park Sok-min, Park Min-woo, Kwon Hui-dong and Lee Myung-ki are currently serving 72-game bans, handed down by the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) on July 16. The four players were found to have met with two outside guests for beers in a room at their road hotel in Seoul on July 5, when private gatherings of more than four people were banned during the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the capital city. Three of the four players tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the league to cancel a week's worth of games in mid-July.

These file photos show four members of the NC Dinos baseball club who violated social distancing rules at the team road hotel on July 5, 2021. From left: Park Sok-min, Kwon Hui-dong, Lee Myung-ki and Park Min-woo. (Yonhap)

The Dinos had 70 games left at the time of the KBO's decision, meaning the quartet was ruled out for the 2021 season. Then on Monday, the club slapped Park Sok-min, the veteran of the group who organized the gathering, with a separate 50-game suspension. The three other players each received 25-game bans.

Those suspensions will take effect immediately after the KBO bans end.

In addition, the Dinos banned manager Lee Dong-wook for 10 games, effective immediately, for his lack of oversight, and fined him 5 million won (US$4,290).

During Lee's absence, bench coach Kang In-kwon will serve as interim manager.

The Dinos said they wanted to hold the four players accountable for their actions and apologized to baseball fans and fellow KBO clubs.

Also on Monday, the Dinos accepted the resignation of general manager Kim Jong-moon.

This file photo from July 14, 2021, shows Changwon NC Park, home of the Korea Baseball Organization club NC Dinos, located in Changwon, 400 kilometers southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap)


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