Chicago – Chicago police are investigating a sexual assault allegation against Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang over an incident that allegedly took place when his team was in town last month, a police spokesman confirmed Tuesday.
As the article linked above from the Chicago Tribune states, Jung Ho Kang is in hot water as allegations have surfaced linking him to the sexual assault of a 23 year old female in June that took place in Chicago.
Now, before the pitchforks are busted out, let’s first be respectful of every one involved and just let the Legal System do its work. Very few people know what the real story behind all of this is, so let’s not forget that every one is innocent until proven guilty.
Now for the reality of this all.
The key word in this whole ordeal is alleged. Nothing has been proven and no one has been charged yet. For most MLB fans who have followed Kang the past year-and-a-half have seen a kind, charismatic ballplayer who wants nothing more than to succeed; but this is more than baseball. Throw away every thing Jung Ho has ever done in baseball and understand that he is being treated, as he should be, as any average Joe. If he is guilty, get him off the team, keep David Freese as an everyday third baseman, and put him in jail just like any other average citizen. If not, well… Let’s just see what evidence comes out first.
There’s nothing that we know yet about this story that would lead us to believe one side of each party, or not. Given the way Kang has carried himself over the last few years, and just how fast he became a fan-favorite, it’s hard to believe any one of his nature could commit such a heinous crime; but if it did happen, and it very well could have, it just goes to show that everything that glitters isn’t gold.
Other than the obvious in this woman’s well-being, the major story here is outside of the United States. Jung Ho Kang has proven to be an icon to Koreans (and many Americans, for that matter) everywhere and, guilty or not, this will be a blemish that sticks with him for the rest of his playing career. If proven guilty, Kang will have let down not just himself and Pirates fans, but aspiring Koreans every where who are just now being introduced to American baseball. Ask any one who has been to a Pirates game, whether home or away, in the last year and they will tell you about the mass amounts of Korean and American fans in attendance wearing their beloved #27. The impact of players like Kang, Byung-ho Park, and Shin-soo Choo has made more Korean children want to play baseball with dreams of making it to the pros; this is just another obstacle being put in their way.
Ben Roethlisberger, another famous Pittsburgh sports icon, has twice been accused of sexual assault; once in 2008 and another in 2010. Both accusations resulted in no charges filed, but the mockery and accusations still live on to this day. If not charged, or proven guilty, Kang will be mocked wherever he goes, especially in rival ballparks, and this will be used as a tactic to psych him out of his game. The impacts of these allegations will hit hard no matter the outcome.
The Pittsburgh Pirates do need to prepare for the worst, however. If proven guilty, Kang’s immediate impact and big bat will be hard to replace, but there is an easy temporary fix. Move David Freese to an everyday third baseman position until another big bat is acquired (if proven guilty, we’ll see what is available then), and release Jung Ho. There is no room in Major League Baseball for a sexual assaulter… It’s that simple.
The truth is there is baseball to be played, and a business to be kept alive. Jung Ho knows what happened and that will weigh on his conscience accordingly.
For you Pirate hopefuls out there, remember guilty until proven innocent… Just take it with a grain of salt.
More will be updated on this situation as it gets revealed. For now, you can follow me on Twitter @fuzznacht to stay up-to-date with my takes on the situation.