Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco is under fire after it was reported that he was having an inappropriate relationship with a minor in the Dominican Republic.
Following his absence at Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Guardians, Franco took to Instagram where he live-streamed himself fighting against the accusations and denying any potential wrongdoing. The 22-year-old claimed that the allegations were nothing more than fake news, and that nothing he allegedly did with the unnamed girl was unlawful.
“They’re saying I got with a girl, that I’m running around with a minor out there,” said Franco. “How crazy is that, dude? People don’t know what to do with their time. Go see.”
Continuing to speak in Spanish, Franco said, “Those people need to get moving. One is here focused, doing my thing, you see, thanks to God. That’s why I prefer to be on my side and not get involved with anybody because people are so gossipy.”
Franco’s teammate José Siri also made a brief appearance in the video, backing up Franco against the claims, stating that those spreading the allegations are “people after money.” According to the Daily Mail, the MLB is collecting social media posts including the livestream Franco had published.
“During today’s game, we were made away of the social media posts that are circulating regarding Wander Franco,” Rays management released in a statement. “We take the situation seriously and are in close contact with Major League Baseball and as its due diligence.”
ESPN baseball reporter Jeff Passan has stated that sources confirmed that Franco has not traveled with the rest of the Rays to play in San Francisco as of Monday. Fox Sports did confirm that he has been placed on the team’s Restricted List.