April 30, 2018 13:31
Kang Jung-ho has been given a work visa despite a drunk driving conviction and recently arrived in the U.S. to resume training with the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton, Florida, MLB.com reported Friday.
Kang got the visa from the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic. Kang is on a restricted list, which means the club does not have to pay his salary. To be able to play again, Kang will have to go through the treatment program for his drinking problem.
The news of his return met with a mixed response. Some fans who fondly remember Kang's performance in 2016 welcomed it, saying he will be a huge boost to the team, and some jokingly offering to be his driver.
But Ron Cook, a widely read sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, wrote an article titled, "Kang shouldn't come back to Pittsburgh" last Friday.
"Dashcam footage of his third DUI in December 2016 showed him driving too fast to navigate a right bend in the road, running over the median and careening back on the highway," Cook wrote. "He was lucky. He could have been killed. Someone else could have been killed. Making matters much worse, he fled the scene and then lied to police about his involvement in the crash."
Kang was sentenced to two years of probation for fleeing the scene after crashing into the guardrail while driving under the influence in Gangnam, Seoul, in December 2016. It was his third conviction for drunk driving following cases in 2009 and 2011.
Kang applied for a work visa at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul afterward, but it was denied and he had to sit out the entire 2017 season.
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