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MLB’s Kang Denied Visa Due to DUI Convictions

DUI enforcement has been stepped up over the last several years as legislation that seeks to curb DUI has shown success in many states. This DUI enforcement has been applied not only to residents of the US, but even those are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) penalties in other countries. This was illustrated recently when major league pitcher Jung-Ho Kang of the Pittsburgh Pirates was denied a visa to enter the US due to his many DUI convictions in his native South Korea. Now it looks like Kang may not even be able to pitch for the Pirates this 2017 season.

Kang was recently arrested for DUI in his native South Korea, Kang’s third DUI conviction. Kang was sentenced to eight months in prison by a South Korean judge due to the many convictions, but the punishment was deferred for two years, meaning Kang can avoid jail if he stays out of trouble for the next two years. Though Kang is avoiding punishment for now from South Korea, he is still facing penalties in not being able to pitch for the 2017 season.

The Pirate’s President Frank Coonelly issued a statement of Kang’s dilemma:

“A Korean news outlet has reported on a purported development in Jung Ho Kang’s effort to secure permission to travel to the United States for purposes of continuing his career as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates and added speculation about a driving incident in a third country.”

The Pirates have already placed Kang on the restricted list. The restricted list is reserved for players who cannot play due to legal or personal reasons. Kang cannot earn payment while on the restricted list. The Pirates look to keep Kang on the restricted list until the situation plays out, but for now much is up in the air.

“The facts, as we know them, are that Kang has not been granted permission to travel to the United States under a work visa. We continue to work with Kang and his representatives to present materials and information to the appropriate parties in the United States government that we believe establish that Kang should be permitted to travel to the United States under a work visa and we remain hopeful that such a resolution will be reached in the near future,” said Coonelly.

The Pirates are set to open their season Sunday, April the 2nd without Kang in the clubhouse.