Franco signed his first contract with the Tampa Bay Rays for $3.825 million at the age of 16. Later on, the 22-year-old signed a remarkable $182 million, 11-year contract in 2021 and changed the flow of his carrier. Hailing from the Dominican Republic, Franco’s journey took an unexpected turn.
Table of Contents
Allegations against FRANCO:
Dominican attorney Juan Arturo Recio Joaquín has stated that Tampa Bay Rays’ star shortstop Wander Franco is currently under investigation for alleged inappropriate relationships with minors and this initial phase could take months. Recio, who is most commonly known as the General Editor for ESPN Deportes in the Dominican Republic, stated that Franco does not have a lawyer yet, who can represent him in court or in public hearings. However, advised that obtaining one would be “a good idea.” While he will continue to receive his compensation, the team has the option to replace him on the roster.
A formal inquiry was opened by the Dominican Republic to see whether the claims made are in fact true. They have chosen, to keep any pertinent information from the public. Stating that they are still in the process of investigating the information and facts provided and would prefer to fully understand the situation to guarantee an equitable legal process. As they strive to validate the entirety of case-associated details, they have chosen to abstain from issuing any official declarations for the time being. The Attorney General’s office stated, “For now, we tell you with caution because any information that gets out can obstruct this process.”
Between adults and minors under 18 years of age, relationships are prohibited under Law 136-03 in the Dominican Republic, which outlines the protection and fundamental rights of children and adolescents. This regulation conceives of penalties of up to five years of imprisonment as well as fines. Dominican authorities classify such relationships as sexual abuse, even if the minor consents.
On Monday, a group from Major League Baseball made a trip to the southern coast of the Dominican Republic, specifically to the province of Peravia, as part of the league’s investigation. The National Office for Boys, Girls, Adolescents, and Family and Gender Violence, led by Dominican Judge Olga Diná Llaverías, which specializes in cases of ill-treatment of children, is also present in Peravia.
Recio claims that in a nation where baseball is the most popular sport, this is the first incidence of problems involving minors involving a Dominican baseball player that has been made public. In the Caribbean nation, the sport of baseball, referred to as “pelota,” frequently emerges as an avenue for individuals to break free from poverty, fostering aspirations for a more promising tomorrow.
There are those who perceive the accusations as a calculated strategy against a prosperous sports figure, whereas others cast a shadow of guilt upon him. Enrique Rojas, a reporter for ESPN Deportes who is Dominican and resides in Central Florida, was reported to have said “But one thing is for sure: baseball is a conservative and family-based sport,”.
As Rojas started playing as a Major League Baseball prospect for the Franchises, he therefore rapidly diversified his roster with Latin players. This trend has been perpetuated alongside multimillion-dollar contracts, such as Franco’s, which is the largest contract in the history of the Rays: $182 million over 11 years and up to $223 million during 12 years. Consequently, fans of the Tampa Bay Rays in the Dominican Republic felt like they had been slapped in the face with the news.
“The allegations are so serious that they can affect the future of one of our best players,” said Miguel Mieses, 38, a Dominican parent and fervent fan from Riverview. Another Dominican from Tampa, Francisco Martinez, 54, believes that Franco is not innocent but says that some girls are capable of doing anything for fame and money. Wendy Dominguez, 51, who has ties to Seminole, sees Franco’s involvement in this conflict as unfortunate and emphasized that He should have known better that crossing that line can never be acceptable.
Read more Similar News: Trey Lance