sports

Soccer star Kumagai in hot water over Twitter remarks during party

63 Comments

Saki Kumagai, a member of Japan's Women's World Cup-winning soccer team, is in hot water after disparaging remarks she made about the team coach while partying with university students on Wednesday night were posted on Twitter by one of the students.

The issue blew up on Thursday, with the Twitter message going viral. By Friday, Japan's mainstream and tabloid media were reporting Kumagai's remarks and the fallout. Coach Norio Sasaki held a televised press conference in which he apologized for anything he said or did that might have led to Kumagai's remarks. "I offer my humble apologies to all the fans who have supported 'Nadeshiko' Japan," as the women's team is known.

In the Twitter message, Kumagai, 20, reportedly criticized Sasaki for sticking too much to hierarchy within the team. Tabloid media reported that she also posted some lewd photos of a teammate taken on her cell phone.

Kumagai has already apologized on her own Twitter page, for "causing trouble to the coach, the teammates, the people concerned and every one who is supporting us."

"It is not true that I criticized the coach. But, undoubtedly, I was so inarticulate that my words were misunderstood," said the Urawa Reds Ladies defender, who is now bound for the women's Bundesliga side Frankfurt.

Meanwhile, Fuji TV reported Friday that that she has withdrawn from all scheduled public appearances with the rest of the team for the time being.

A spokesman for the Japan Football Association called the incident regrettable and asked the media not to make a big deal about it, according to the TV network.

Kumagai fired home the winning penalty in the shootout against the United States in Sunday's final in Frankfurt. The team returned to Japan on Tuesday. Each member of the team received a 1 million yen bonus from sponsor Kirin.

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63 Comments
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Every day I read someone expressing an apology. The list includes Kan, Noda, Hatoyama, Maehara, TEPCO except OZAWA.

Please leave this poor lady alone. She is not a government official and is entitled to her own opinion. What's a matter with Japan? Isn't it a free country?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Well..well, well. Where are the lewd photos? Society really must learn how dangerous those Smartphones can be if you're drunk.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Anybody know where the photos are?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Anybody know where the photos are?

Dude, who cares? That's the whole point of this twitter BS. Who cares? Oh, you're at a concert? Tell me about it tomorrow at work... Oh, you're eating dinner with some friends? Who cares!?... Oh, you're taking a crap? Who cares!?!... Oh, you're going to sleep? Who cares!!!!!

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Kumagai is only 20 years old. She's a good person. It's been a grueling year for them, and it's ok for Kumagai to blow off some steam. It happens all the time. Sometimes good coaches are very demanding to get maxium performance out of these players. The objective of the coaches is to win, and they won it big. If I was the coach, I wouldn't apologize and not take it personal. Why did Japanese coach apologize for some other persons comments? He don't mean it. They put on a automatic acting apology statement and say the same thing that don't mean anything. How ridiculous. It's better if he didn't do it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Well according to this she didn't even post the remarks herself--some kid who heard her talking at a party tweeted later, which makes the whole thing suspect anyway. Sheesh.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

OMG! This is so typical. You can't have an opinion at all in Japan, let alone a negative one that may or may not be absolutely true. Then there's the typical media blackballing for expressing your true opinions. Who says Japan is a democracy? Still feels like a Communist country to me.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The words 'storm' and 'teacup' come to mind.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I saw it on TV yesterday, someone tweeted about being in a party with her and her friends. She insists it wasnt a gou-kon but a night out with friends. Apparently she was more concerned about news that she was suspected of drinking alcohol, which she adamantly denies. She promised never to attend such functions in the future.

The tweeter was a fellow student and an aquaintance of one of her friends, attending the same University. She did not know that during the course of the evening, he was posting on his twitter account, and uploading a picture of himself biting the gold medal (which for some people, is inappropriate and disrespectful).

The University issued a statement that the student has been reprimanded for his actions.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

****Sometimes we all say things that appear normal, until we are confronted with the information, and then we will apologize. I don't think it will affect any future games and I hope she will continue playing. The Japanese team did wonderful and in fact, I was supporting them the whole way.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

She shouldn't apologize.

She got in trouble for pointing out the obvious? WTF? Oh yeah, I forgot for a moment, this is Japan, its not how well you play, but for how long. Its not what you know, its who you blow.

2 ( +7 / -6 )

realteacher, and what other developed country is your statement not true for?!? good comment, but easy on the j-bashing, will ya. what other country would this not be in the news in as quick a time as this story broke?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

NetNinjaJul. 23, 2011 - 08:25AM JST

Society really must learn how dangerous those Smartphones can be if you're drunk.

Exactly. Twitter, Facebook.... the internet for that matter; changing life as we know it into something as useful as it is dangerous.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So she's complaining about the kohai/sempai relationship? Ha! She's Japanese and I am sure when it came time for her to be the nasty, bossy one, she would be.

You don't go out in public and criticize your coach - who just helped you get to where you are. You also don't take lewd pictures of your teammates. Sounds like she didn't get along with everyone, let of steam and well, it came back to bite her in the butt. Doubt we'll see her in four years. Shame to throw it all away.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Tahoochi:" Who cares?" Your comparing "lewd photos" of an undisclosed female soccer player with photos of : concerts? dinner? sleep?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'm worried about her in the Nadeshiko Japan in the future. Will she be called again? She's a very good player. I liked her very much especially in the Penalty Kicks, where she scored and brought the 1st FIFA World Cup fo Japan and made history. She was very cool.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Disillusioned, that's funny. I have worked in a Japanese school for 12 years and have never once heard that expression uttered. Not once. There are lots of other things that get said over and over again, but never that. I don't know what country you're living in, but it obviously isn't the Japan of 2011.

If freedom of expression does not exist in Japanese culture, how do you explain Kumagai bad-mouthing the coach? Obviously it does exist. In any culture and on any team, bad-mouthing authority is frowned upon. And yet Kumagai still did it, EVEN in Japan... wooowooo! lol

2 ( +2 / -0 )

chewitup: Thinking something, and going on a drunken rant in front of people you don't know or trust are 2 completely different things. Also, if Kumagai had some constructive criticism or ideas of improvements for the team, don't you think it would have been a better idea to take it up in a sober state of mind, with the team, as opposed to some strangers at a goukon party? And another thing, when one does become famous, it does not mean they have a free pass to make others look like sht. What Kumagai did (with the cooperation of this idiot student) is borderline slander. As if Kumagai doesn't have skeletons in the closet..... so what right does she have in bringing up others' when they are not present to defend themselves?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It appears from the comments that only about half of you have bothered to read this article before shooting off your opinions

2 ( +2 / -0 )

“It is not true that I criticized the coach. But, undoubtedly, I was so inarticulate that my words were misunderstood,”

She'd make a good Japanese politician. But really, why do so many Japanese make this excuse when it's so painfully obvious what they meant?

Anyway, people really need to learn that posting things on social networks can and likely WILL come back to haunt you. The complaints about the coach don't seem all that unwarranted and are personal opinion, but the lewd pictures with teammates are affecting not only her but others.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Kumagai fired home the winning penalty in the shootout against the United States in Sunday’s final in Frankfurt.

That is the only thing that matters!!!!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Pics or it didn't happen.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

She has nothing to be sorry for. It's a free country, and if she wants to criticize and talk negative about people around her, that's her prerogative, and I for one, support her right to say whatever she wants! Culture has nothing to do with it!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In the US you have Olympic team members like Charles Barkely throwing people thru restaurant windows, Super Bowl MVP Brett Favre sending unsolicited pics of his stimulus package to female sports writers . Stories like Kumagai's still strike me as kinda refreshing even after all these years here.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

chewitupJul. 24, 2011 - 12:37AM JST

Anyone jumping on her for having an opinion can go to hell. Its her damn team. She plays on it. Her opinion ought to count for something. Opinions of her opinion from the peanut gallery don't count for squat.

.........well that's your opinion.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And then it all came crashing down!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Speaking of which, what the hell did I do on facebook last night....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Kumagai fired home the winning penalty"

That's all that matters. Everything else is forgiven!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Dude, who cares? That's the whole point of this twitter BS. Who cares? Oh, you're at a concert? Tell me about it tomorrow at work... Oh, you're eating dinner with some friends? Who cares!?... Oh, you're taking a crap? Who cares!?!... Oh, you're going to sleep? Who cares!!!!!

I always thought the same thing. I even hate facebook. Real people do it old school.... these days you cannot even hook up with a hot chick without getting bagged and tagged.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

paulinusa: You've got a point. No doubt that what doesn't excite some people may excite others. The "who cares" was my personal opinion. In this case, the lewd photos are of zero use to me. The news alone is enough for me, but I guess some others may not feel the same.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Personally, I don't like it when any soccer player bitches publicly about their coach (e.g. John Terry criticizing the England manager Capello). It's just divisive, and soccer relies on teamwork and unity. Keep your comments within the team and bitch to the coach directly, not a bunch of students at a party (I recognize a party isn't public, more a huge indiscretion). And more importantly, ENJOY THE FACT YOU'RE A WORLD CUP WINNER!!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Coach Norio Sasaki held a televised press conference in which he apologized Why did the coach apologized? Somebody criticize him.

It is not true that I criticized the coach. But, undoubtedly, I was so inarticulate that my words were misunderstood I think I can believe her to some extend. She is young & not used to media attention. Even Sawa is still trying to get used to it. She might just said "the coach is very rigid and the senpai as well." Somebody interpreted it as a critic & tweet.

she also posted some lewd photos of a teammate this is not good. someday we'll learn to ban it in a certain places. anyway, where are the photos?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

but I think what happened since the day they landed in Narita shows that they lack PR support/ briefing on how to behave after becoming a world champion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tahoochi: Actually, I agree with you about Twitter. In fact, If it doesn't evolve I think Twitter will go the way of the dinosaur.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Defend her for speaking ill of the coach which, fine (I certainly don't agree with it) but I don't know how any of you can overlook her taking lewd pictures of her teammates. That is out of line and she should be taken to task for it. That could have caused a lot of problems for whomever she took pictures of.

Getting rather sick of the media loving one that seems to be on every TV show right now. Sawa is great. Back to playing and doing what she needs to do.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And people bashed me when I wrote that these soccer players did not strike me as intelligent after I had seen the interviews with them.

Being drunk, writing inarticulately about the coach which required apology, posting lewd pictures of other team members prove my point.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"She promised never to attend such functions in the future."

Never attend a drinking party again?? In JAPAN?? That's one promise that will likely last less than a few weeks, let alone forever. And there's no reason why she shouldn't go on a Gou-kon or drinking party (the latter so long as she is of age). It's her life and she can do so if she chooses. I would make it conditional to the off-season, perhaps, and just be careful what I say and do at said events.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I dont know which TWIT is the worse the player or the coach!

First WHO gives a rats if someone lets off some steam, spouts a bit of crap about a coach or team mates at a DRINKING PARTY, where in Japan its well known you are pretty FINE TO DO SO!!

Now the coach for holding a press conference knowing really ZIP about the whole thing(like the rest of us haha) & apologises is just trying to cover his a$$ in case he might of done something.

The whole thing is pathetic, a waste of time, a whole hubbaballew(sp?) ABOUT NOTHING.

But a good example & why twitter, facebook & their ilk are dangerous for your future!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Bad mouth your boss in public,then expect to get drop-kicked..cheap shot

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Totally agree GW

0 ( +1 / -1 )

were posted on Twitter by one of the students.

Well the student should be questioned about it. And the fact that they took this as gospel is pathetic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

then do it in the coach's office to his face with courage,not wimpily..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Look what happens when we elevate sports stars to god-like figures. They think they can do anything.

Saw Marina's other lewd photo in a German newspaper as well. She likes to show it off. Not complaining. Glad it wasn't the cavewoman.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

tahoo..right,and then right again

0 ( +0 / -0 )

<>http://hamusoku.com/archives/5358874.html

The guy who tweeted on Kumagai did not upload any lewd pictures, but boasts that he viewed an album on Kumagai's smartphone...including a topless Maruyama in the locker room.

The pictures he did upload are of him and Kumagai seated together (with the gold medal around his neck) a close up of the gold medal, and a headshot of himself biting the gold medal.

He posts that Kumagai started to talk heatedly about the coach, saying he needs to do better "Kantoku kono mama ja dame rashii"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This sounds so much like so many other stories I've heard all over the world about sports stars either using Twitter to voice ill about their teammates and coaches, or other people tweeting ill about sports stars and such. Next, we'll start hearing about athletes here tweeting during games, like in so many other places.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@mokgohan

It appears from the comments that only about half of you have bothered to read this article before shooting off your opinions

But we had loads of other homework, Sir! :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So this means that if some A-wipe writes something on twitter and says I said it it is true?

Was it recorded? This is so stupid.

What is more stupid is that people apologize for something they did not do.

...actually that is a good thing and I did it all the time with my X. Shut her up with the harping crap very quickly.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Generic Japanese apology:

I'm sorry my words were taken that way. Any negative outcome is regrettable.

Complete lack of responsibility. This case is no different. Surely this person, on a team that won one of the FEW world championships for Japan, would know her words would be repeated? This has nothing to do with twitter or social media. You just don't diss your teammates or coaches in public, less than a week after winning the championship.

Whatever you say has repercussions. Whoever doesn't understand this is an idiot. Of course, it's easy to blame twitter, social media, misunderstandings, etc.

Responsibility is easy to avoid these days...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

gaijinfo,I share the same view as you do. The other side of coin for freedom is a responsibility.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Another career ended by Twitter.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I bet she will never use Twitter again.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Tahoochi: I more or less agree with you on the whole Twitter thing. I think the reason it got so much appeal so quickly is because it 'put people in touch' with their favourite celebs. Sure, reading that your buddy you meet all the time is 'taking a crap in a hot stall' is something you do not need, but reading a Tweet by the President of the US or your favourite musician saying, "On my way to Wendy's for a big bacon classic" might be an interesting look into the day to day lives of people you normally only read headlines about.

Regardless, as I said before, I really don't think it's that big a deal she said what she said about the coach (it'll still get you in crap if you're high profile... or the coach sees it!) as it was personal opinion. But if she did indeed post lewd pictures of other teammates (and I'm assuming they were unaware and didn't give her permission) she does indeed need to apologize (which she did, I know).

These days, though, even your average Joe needs to be careful with such SNS -- apparently some potential employers do searches (or have others do it for them) for dirt on potential employees before hiring/rejecting.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Addendum: Not just SNS you need to watch, but personal websites or other places you can post opinions in the public domain.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I just read up on it and this "party" she attended was in fact a "gokon." Why am I not surprised ...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Evene many women have bad morals these days. It seems "cool" to post vulgar images online lately. What kind of life are these football stars living? What did their mother bring them up? What will she think?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Where is the real recorded proof that this woman actually said this stuff? Twitter and Facebook are hearsay mechanisms. I have a feeling someone with sour grapes put this out just to mess around and it is not fair.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

realteacher - She got in trouble for pointing out the obvious? WTF? Oh yeah, I forgot for a moment, this is Japan, its not how well you play, but for how long. Its not what you know, its who you blow.

Here is one of Japan's most famous and followed proverbs, "The nail that stands up must be hammered down." Freedom of expression does not apply in Japanese culture.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Well..well, well. Where are the lewd photos ? ........................................................

exactly, without the pics, readers cannot possibly decide if she " crossed the line ".

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

...what other country would this not be in the news in as quick a time as this story broke? Britain for a start. An opinion is an opinion, simple as that.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If you have any capacity to think for yourself, and you have any claim to fame at all, its just a matter of time before this happens you in this climate.

I have nothing to lose so I say this: Anyone jumping on her for having an opinion can go to hell. Its her damn team. She plays on it. Her opinion ought to count for something. Opinions of her opinion from the peanut gallery don't count for squat. And the management should have the brains and the nads to stand up for her and say just that. But they fear the loss of a few thousand yen from pathetic fans who think they are oh so important.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Fuji TV reported Friday that that she has withdrawn from all scheduled public appearances with the rest of the team for the time being.

fired...sacked...discharged.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Not very clear but this is the one:

http://image.space.rakuten.co.jp/lg01/84/0001273084/20/img1b5b4743zik4zj.jpeg

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

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