Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Clock Is Ticking on Cleveland OF Choo's Military Obligation

CC image from Keith Allison on Flickr.

There's a good discussion over at Yahoo's Big League Stew about Cleveland Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, who is running out of time on South Korea's requirement that all able-bodied males serve two years in military before age 30. Baseball players don't have much of a shelf life, so Choo might take drastic measures--such as applying for U.S. citizenship or never returning to his homeland--to avoid his obligation.

This isn't the nation's most oppressive policy by any stretch of the imagination, but it sure is an idiotic one. All sorts of people, not just baseball players, are in the midst of crucial life-forming activities in their 20s--attending school, beginning their careers, starting a family--and the military service requirement couldn't come about at a worse time.

Even if Choo is eventually excused (as athletes sometimes are), the policy no doubt creates a distraction and an underlying worry for him, which could lead to poorer performance. This in turn could lead to less prestige for the nation and less money being sent home by Choo--far in excess of any value that the South Korean army would gain from having one additional soldier.

1 comment:

Adam Gurri said...

On the other hand, you have to consider the different priorities a country like South Korea has compared to one like the US. South Korea has a big, hostile foe just north of its border that has invaded it before. They want to be ready to mobilize at the drop of a hat if they have to.

Not justifying, just putting it in perspective a bit.