Via Achy Obejas
"What exactly did Aroldis Chapman do? That’s the question at the heart of an $18 million lawsuit against the 24-year-old Cincinnati Reds pitching ace.
The suit claims Chapman sold out two men to Cuban authorities in order to get back in the good graces of President Raul Castro, then defect to the U.S. where he could secure a multi-million dollar pro baseball contract.
The lawsuit came to light last week, mostly in the Spanish-language press. But it's starting get picked up by the English-language media as well, especially after Chapman was arrested Monday for driving 93 mph with a suspended license.
Chapman may be the current record holder for the fastest recorded pitch with a mark of 106 mph, but if what the lawsuit alleges is true, he’s one royal scumbag. Chapman has not commented on the story and the Reds are officially declining to comment as well.
Here’s what we do know: In 2008, Chapman – then a major star on the Cuban national baseball team – tried to escape from Cuba. When a prized athlete tries to leave the country or gets a whiff of another’s potential defection, they usually face wrath of the Castro government. For example, former Yankee great Orlando “El Duque” Hernández was banned from Cuban baseball after his younger brother, Liván, defected to the U.S. Hernández was forced to sit idle for two years before he pulled off his own defection.
That’s not what happened with Chapman. After authorities caught him trying to leave, he arranged a meeting with Raul Castro. Chapman was kept out of the Cuban national series and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. But the following year, Chapman was a witness in a trial against a Cuban-American named Danilo Curbelo. In his testimony, Chapman accused Curbelo and one other man of “human trafficking.” By July, Chapman was back on the Cuban national team. Late that year he was allowed to play at a tournament in the Netherlands, where he successfully defected.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Via Achy Obejas