This golfer was suspended a year for ‘giving the finger’ — here’s how other athletes were punished for doing the sameOctober 25, 2019
American athletes sometimes react to rowdy fans by making obscene hand gestures, and they’re usually fined for it. But when a Korean golfer named Bio Kim “gave the finger” to a crowd watching him tee off after someone’s cellphone rang, he was suspended from play for a whopping three years.
Kim, 29, was also fined the equivalent of $8,350. He appealed the suspension given out by the Korean Professional Golfers’ Association (KPGA), and it reduced the suspension to one year.
The Korean PGA is not affiliated with the PGA Tour in the U.S., which said in a statement: “Bio Kim does not currently have status on any PGA TOUR-affiliated Tours. However, he would be eligible to attempt to Monday qualify for events starting in January.”
MarketWatch took a look at how Kim’s suspension compared with what other sports have meted out for similar acts.
NFL quarterback Michael Vick
Perhaps the most high-profile middle finger situation. Atlanta Falcons QB Vick was at the peak of his powers in 2006, but a blowout loss to his rival New Orleans Saints led his home crowd to boo him as he walked off the field. Vick gave his home fans not one, but two middle fingers. That ‘obscene gesture’ cost Vick $20,000 and it didn’t help that the whole thing was caught on camera.
NFL safety Malcolm Jenkins
Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins believed New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton was running up the score during a regular season game in 2018. A frustrated Jenkins flashed his middle finger in Payton’s direction, a move that reportedly cost him $13,369
NBA forward DeMarcus Cousins
DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins has the highest dollar amount fine on this list, and for good reason. After a heartbreaking loss to the Golden State Warriors in 2017, Cousins approached the locker room and screamed “Fuck Golden State!” and gestured two middle fingers toward a group of fans.
The combination of what the NBA called “an inappropriate statement and gesture” earned Cousins a hefty $25,000 fine.
NBA center Myles Turner
Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner was subbed out of a regular season game against the Philadelphia 76ers when he got caught up in the “heat of the moment.” Turner flipped off the booing Philly crowd as he walked to the bench in frustration. Turner was likely upset because 76ers center Joel Embiid went off for 40 points and 21 rebounds that night — he was fined $15,000 by the NBA.
It’s noteworthy that simply “booing” is about the least egregious thing Philly fans have ever done.
MLB outfielder Yasiel Puig
Punishment: suspended for 1 game; undisclosed fine
When he was on the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017, Puig gave the finger to Cleveland Indians fans with both hands. He was suspended and fined an undisclosed amount. “It was something that he wishes didn’t happen,” his manager said the next day. “It was a reaction of emotion on his part. Bad judgment.”
Tennis player Daniil Medvedev
Professional tennis player Daniil Medvedev was fined $4,000 for pressing his middle finger against the side of his head during a U.S. Open match in 2019. Medvedev had been the subject of a series of fines throughout the U.S. Open ranging from verbal abuse of referees to other unsportsmanlike conduct. Throughout the tournament fans booed Medvedev, and he sarcastically said it helped him win. But when he played an impressive final against Rafael Nadal and lost in five close sets, he won the crowd back to his side.
Athletes raising their middle finger seems to have a long history. A picture of one Charles “Old Hoss” Radborun appears to show him making the gesture in a photo of his team, the 1886 Boston Beaneaters. He’s reportedly the first person to be pictured giving the middle finger.
It’s unclear whether the league levied any punishment on Radborun for his conduct.
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