Yesterday afternoon, Latino Rebels published a story chronicling ESPN's Rick Sutcliffe and the comments he made on New York radio Monday regarding San Francisco Giants OF Melky Cabrera and Cabrera's recent 50-game suspension from baseball for using testosterone, a banned substance. Sutcliffe believed that because of what Cabrera did (including his people creating a fake website to hide Cabrera's actions) deserved an immediate removal of Cabrera's work visa and instant deportation back to the Dominican Republic.
This is the audio that we posted on YouTube.
This is what Sutcliffe said:
"First of all, this guy is over here in the United States on a working visa. He broke the law. What's he doing still here? I mean, forget the 50-game suspension from baseball and whether he can come back if they make the players or not. Why's he still here? That visa should be taken away, and he should not be allowed to play over here again, or work over here again, in my opinion."
Today, the story went viral, with posts being published on Deadspin, the HuffPost, USA Today, Bleacher Report and more than 700 other links. Overall, the reaction to Sutcliffe's comments have been generally negative, saying that the former Chicago Cub star showed his nativist ignorance on the air. Even when one outlet tried to add more context to Sutcliffe's claims that Cabrera had indeed broken the law and had to leave the country immediately the consensus was that Sutcliffe really should just stick to baseball talk and leave the legal talk to people who know what they are talking about, because in the end Cabrera has not been charged or convicted:
An athlete’s visa could get revoked if the offense results in a crime, not simply a violation of the league, said Jon Velie, an Oklahoma attorney who specializes in sports-immigration visas.
For instance, if an athlete tests positive for cocaine, which is also used in performance enhancement, he would likely lose his right to work here.
“Crimes of moral turpitude are grounds for deportation,” Velie said. Such crimes include shoplifting, obtaining stolen goods, and assault, as well as fraud, adultery, bigamy, kidnapping, rape, prostitution, voluntary manslaughter, and murder, he said.
But what is a misdemeanor offense in a state court can be an aggravated felony in an immigration court, Velie said. “Any conviction that has a term, not just jail time, for more than one year is considered a felony, even if called a misdemeanor,” he said.
Yes, so Cabrera (who really screwed up), COULD get deported IF he is found guilty of a "crime of moral turpitude," but so far he has not been arrested nor convicted, so why does Sutcliffe want Cabrera deported?
In addition, what Velie fails to mention is that in 2009 Miguel Tejada, who is also from the Dominican Republic, pleaded guilty in court for lying to Congress and we didn't see an ICE truck back up and ship him back to Santo Domingo.
In the meantime, comments about Sutcliffe posted on our YouTube page pretty much agree that Sutcliffe went a bit too far in his assessment of Cabrera's violation of MLB policy. Here is just one of the many comments we are getting about what Sutcliffe said:
What about you Rick and your embarrassing drunk show on Channel 4 San Diego, and then driving drunk back home, you think this isn't worse? Seriously I don't even know how you've been allowed to return to the media, you should be banned for life. But since you are a former MLB player, white, christian and american we must forgive that you're a fucking alcoholic and move on to condemn and deport a foreigner MLB player in his first steroid offense regardless of what MLB's policy says. SMH!
We did contact ESPN's Communications Department twice today and left two messages asking for comment from either ESPN or Sutcliffe. They have not returned our calls. If we do get a response from ESPN, we will provide updates. UPDATE, August 22, 2012, 5:46 PM EST: ESPN sent us the following in an email about Sutcliffe's remarks: "It is a sensitive topic that should’ve been handled more carefully. We have discussed that with Rick."
H/T to @Wolfman_13 for sending us the tip about Sutcliffe's comments.