Thou shalt not stretch during national anthem! LG cuts leading scorer in middle of playoffs

March 20, 2015
In this captured image, Changwon LG Sakers' Davon Jefferson, in red circle, stretches while Korea's national anthem is played before a Korean Basketball League playoff game against Ulsan Mobis Phoebus in Ulsan, on March 18.  (Korea Times photo)

In this captured image, Changwon LG Sakers’ Davon Jefferson, circled in red, stretches while Korea’s national anthem is played before a Korean Basketball League playoff game against Ulsan Mobis Phoebus in Ulsan on March 18.
(Korea Times photo)

Changwon LG Sakers of the Korean Basketball League (KBL) ended up releasing the league’s top scorer in the middle of a playoff series, just two days after its star American player Davon Jefferson was spotted stretching during the national anthem on national television. 

Before the KBL playoff semifinals game against Ulsan Mobis Phoebus on March 18, the former USC Trojan stretched his legs wide and bent down while wearing earphones as the Korean national anthem played.

All other players, coaches and fans were standing, and Jefferson immediately became the target of tremendous criticism.

He wrote on Instagram before the game, “I miss my family, I’m ready to go home,” adding fuel to the controversy.

As the criticism continued to mount, the LG Sakers released a statement that included Jefferson’s apology and held a press conference on Thursday at which the 28-year-old appeared.

During the press conference, he said he felt a pain in his shoulder while the national anthem was playing, so he stretched to relieve it. Jefferson admitted it was wrong and apologized to Koreans, while also stating that he respects Korean culture.

He also claimed that he heard a racist comment from a KBL official before the 2014-15 season, adding that foreign players in the league complained to league officials and nothing was done.

the 28-year-old from Lynwood, California

Changwon LG Sakers’ Davon Jefferson looks to pass Goyang Orions’ Troy Gillenwater during their Korean Basketball League playoff game in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, on March 10. (Yonhap)

Before the press conference, he stirred up controversy once again by posting another photo of himself making an obscene gesture with the comment: “One more for u losers out here go do something with life.”

The day after the apology, he was let go. An LG Sakers official said the decision was “not just because of his stretching during the national anthem, but all of the misconducts combined.”

It’s a tremendous blow to the Sakers. Their head coach Kim Jin had to spend precious time apologizing for his player’s misdeed, instead of coming up with a game plan to rebound from Wednesday’s 86-71 loss, and now they have to go one without the league’s top scorer.

Jefferson, who joined the Sakers last season, led his team in clinching the 2013-14 season pennant for the first time in the team’s history. During the regular season, he averaged 22.0 points per game, and his scoring average was 16.17 points in the playoffs.

The KBL initially planned to take disciplinary action against Jefferson on Friday, but decided not to after the Sakers cut him.


One Comment

  1. thomas

    March 22, 2015 at 11:59 AM

    Did someone force you to play in S. Korea? So why the disrespect DJ? You should be grateful that someone wants to pay you to play BB outside of college. Take a look in the mirror and you will see the real loser.