One had to imagine that we would be hearing from Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco regarding allegations that he was in a relationship with a 14 year old. That time came on Sunday night.
Franco posted a video on Instagram Live from the locker room following the Rays loss to the Guardians. He denied those allegations in no uncertain terms, making it clear that he is the victim. While one can question the wisdom of having Jose Siri dancing. running his mouth, and the upbeat music in the background, Franco forcefully addressed those rumours.
Tampa Bay Rays need conversation with Wander Franco
It is understandable that Franco would feel a need to respond. His name and reputation are being dragged through the mud. He has been the target of jokes and memes online with people calling him a pedophile. This is not a situation that anyone would want to find themselves in, let alone a young star who is expected to be the face of a major league franchise.
This was also one of the worst things that Franco could have done. A more prudent option would have been to put out a statement through the team or his agency, categorically denying the allegations against him. Meanwhile, he would be able to wait for the investigation to be complete, as the league is looking into social media posts. As Jeff Passan from ESPN noted, nothing has been verified to this point. However, these allegations are serious and warrant such an investigation.
A part of this process has to involve the Rays having a talk with Franco. There had already been questions about his maturity as he was benched for being a bad teammate earlier in the year. The Rays need to drill into his head that he cannot be making those videos as they will only make things worse.
Wander Franco felt he needed to address allegations against him. The Tampa Bay Rays shortstop is fighting back even if it is not prudent.