On Monday evening, word came down that former Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig had agreed to plead guilty to a charge of lying to federal investigators. As the evening went on, more and more information trickled in, some accurate and some not.
#BREAKING: Former Dodger Yasiel Puig has agreed to plead guilty in connection with an illegal gambling operation. Story to follow.
— KTLA (@KTLA) November 14, 2022
At one point, the Los Angeles Times article said Puig could be deported and barred from re-entering the United States and that he would be ineligible for citizenship in the future. The only problem with this: Puig became a U.S. citizen in 2019, so he’s not eligible for deportation and the charge he’s pleading guilty to doesn’t come close to meeting the criteria for stripping citizenship. The Times has updated their article and Times reporter Bill Shaikin has deleted his tweet quoting that section.
On Tuesday, Puig’s agent weighed in with some clarifications on the situation.
— MLB Player Agent Lisette Carnet (@lisettecarnet) November 15, 2022
The U.S. Attorney’s press release about Puig said that in the interview in question earlier this year, Puig had his attorney present and was advised that it was a crime to lie to investigators. In her statement, agent Lisette Carnet clarified that he didn’t have “criminal counsel” with him; it’s unclear who the attorney was with him, but Carnet’s statement indicates it wasn’t someone with a specialty in criminal law. Carnet also points to Puig’s upbringing in “authoritarian Cuba,” saying that government interviews trigger the symptoms of his ADHD, for which he is now receiving treatment.
Carnet also clarifies that, despite sensational headlines, Puig “has not been charged with illegal gambling, was not a member of a gambling ring, nor did he bet on baseball. He has not been indicted for gambling of any kind on any sport whatsoever nor for any involvement with any illegal gambling.”
Carnet’s statement ends with: “Puig took responsibility, and this agreement with the government should end this whole unfortunate incident. This matter does not impede his ability to play in MLB or abroad per organization regulations.”
While it may not impede his ability to play in MLB, it will be interesting to see if it dampens any interest MLB teams might have had in bringing Puig back to the U.S. to play.
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