Pittsburgh Tribune-Review – Pirates president Frank Coonelly on Friday said the team will withhold a decision on whether to discipline third baseman Jung Ho Kang, who received a suspended sentence from a South Korean court on a drunken driving charge.
Late Thursday night, Kang was sentenced to eight months in prison by Seoul Central District Court for fleeing the scene of a DUI incident on Dec. 2. The court suspended Kang’s sentence for two years.
Kang is working to acquire a visa so he can attend spring training camp. It is still unclear when Kang will rejoin the team.
Coonelly said the Pirates will have a “serious discussion” with Kang about the DUI conviction — his third since 2009.
“We will withhold judgment on what club discipline, if any, is appropriate until we have had an opportunity to have that discussion,” Coonelly said in a prepared statement. “Regardless of our decision on the disciplinary issue, we will do everything that we can as an organization to assist Jung Ho as he works to change his behavior and grow into the man that we know he can be.”
Kang’s agent, Alan Nero, did not respond to requests for comment.
The Pirates will wrap up their spring training camp in four weeks. The season-opener is April 3 against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Let’s not discount the fact that Kang’s a complete idiot here. If somebody has three DUIs on their record, it’s pretty evident to see that person is clearly a fuck up that hasn’t learned their lesson. That’s why it’s important for the Pirates to step up here and make a statement.
Nowadays, the protocol for disciplinary action after a professional athlete gets a DUI depends on their value to the team. It basically boils down to one of three scenarios:
- Player Sucks: Team immediately cuts player. Bad PR + Bad Player = Perfect excuse to ax the relationship.
- Player Is Pretty Good: Team
recommendsstrong arms player into entering rehab. This is a good excuse for teams to “suspend” a player while that player tries to figure out how to stop drinking and driving (and other dumb shit) with the aid of professional help.
- Player Is Really Good: Team has player write an apology on the note app of their iPhone before uploading it to their social media platforms. Obviously this player helps the team win (and make money), so why prevent him from playing?
I’m not saying any of these three scenarios are the way teams should operate when it comes to discipline, but unfortunately, this is the reality when it comes to professional sports. In Kang’s case, he does provide a pretty significant portion of value to the Pirates, which makes him fall within category #2. The Pirates have obviously reached out to him and made him go to rehab, but Kang’s case falls into a gray area for a couple reasons.
For starters, as mentioned earlier, the guy hasn’t learned his lesson. Anybody with more than one DUI is fucking stupid. You’re not only putting your own life at risk, but, more importantly, you’re putting other innocent lives at risks. It’s one of the most asinine acts of selfishness you can possibly do. I probably sound like I’m involved with MADD or some shit, but I don’t care. It’s fucking careless and dangerous.
The second reason this falls into a gray area is because this occurred during the offseason. Kang already pulled the rehab stunt so that amount of time spent being treated didn’t prevent him from actually playing any games. For that reason alone, the Pirates are on the hot seat right now to suspend him. If not, this will make the Pirates look terrible if they decide not to punish a guy that’s facing a potential eight month prison sentence in his home country (as long as he doesn’t fuck up again in the next two years).
The ball’s in the Pirates’ court now. Will they turn a blind eye to this situation because they’re desperate at 3rd base? Or will they put the hammer down and suspend Kang for a sizable amount of games because they don’t condone the actions of some dipshit that just earned his 3rd DUI?
P.S. – Let’s not forget he’s still involved in an ongoing rape investigation stemming from an alleged incident last summer in Chicago.