It's Not Always Sunny in North Korea

July 30, 2010

Every nation has a different approach to motivating their national athletes. In North Korea, the process reportedly involves public shaming, charges of treason, and a head coach being banished to a forced labor camp.

Following a disappointing – but not unexpected – showing at the World Cup, Kim Jong-Il’s favorite soccer team returned to the land where democracy goes to die in order to receive some helpful tips from overweight sporting enthusiasts.

According to sources (who have likely been executed), the players were “summoned” to a casual criticism session in which 400 government officials forced each player to stand on stage while everybody in attendance detailed his individual failures in all three World Cup matches. (It’s sort of like an NFL film session, only instead of a pat on the back, Bill Belichick has Tom Brady’s family held hostage at an undisclosed bunker.)

One website reports that “the meeting lasted six hours and coach Kim Jung Hun’s safety could be in jeopardy, as he was publicly accused of “betraying the Young Gen. Kim Jong Un,” North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s anointed heir.”

Yes, his inability to defeat three of the most talented teams in the history of the sport (Ivory Coast, Portugal, and Brazil) with a squad compiled of malnourished players who would struggle to make an MLS roster is considered a treasonous act.

“There are rumors that coach Kim Jung Hun has been expelled from the Workers’ Party, or that he has been sent to perform forced labor at a residential building construction site in Pyongyang, but such rumors are hard to verify,” a source (who will now be telecommuting from a windowless prison) told an international publication.

In all fairness, had the Dream Team not brought home gold in 1992, George Bush had similar plans for Larry Bird and Clyde Drexler.

Photo: Ri Jun-Il/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images