Back in December the Executive Board of the Major League Baseball Player’s Association appointed Tony Clark as the head of the MLBPA. It was announced via press release today that the players have “overwhelmingly confirmed” the appointment. This comes as no surprise, of course, even if it is now official.
Clark takes over at a strange time for the union. With new rules changes, a gigantic influx of TV money once again highlighting both the high financial stakes at play and the considerable amount of income disparity between various teams and with the subject of PEDs and their proper punishment creating the biggest potential wedge in the players’ historical solidarity, his job is not an easy one.
Jeff Passan of ESPN is reporting that Pittsburgh Pirates closer Felipe Vázquez has been arrested and charged with one count of computer pornography, the solicitation of a child, and one count of providing obscene material to minors.
The details, from a report from the Lee County, Florida Sheriff’s Department are ugly.
According to authorities, Vázquez has allegedly been engaging in sexual activity with a now-15-year-old girl from the time she as 13 years-old. As recently as this July Vázquez allegedly sent the victim videos of him engaging in an unspecified sex act. Vázquez also allegedly sent the victim texts saying that they would meet for sex after the baseball season was over.
The age of consent in the State of Florida is 18. While, like many states, Florida has “close-in-age” exceptions, they do not apply to the 28-year-old Vázquez and someone as young as his alleged victim. Non-legally speaking, the allegations amount to what can and should be called rape — sexual activity without consent due to the impossibility of consent in these allegations — separate and apart from the specific counts with which Vázquez has been charged. It is possible, of course, that authorities could amend and/or add to the charges he currently faces.
Vázquez has been placed on administrative leave by Major League Baseball while the case is pending against him.
We will, without question, be following this story as it develops.