Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu admitted on the stand in a Miami courtroom that he ate part of a fake passport while flying to the U.S. to cover up his illegal travel as part of a Cuban ballplayer smuggling operation. Now, I am admittedly a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan and we have no love loss with our White Sox neighbors, but it is pretty amazing that this admission (given under a guarantee of immunity) has not resulted in Abreu being dropped by MLB or the White Sox team. Indeed, at the time of immigration reforms and crackdown, this is a case of someone who knowingly used and then destroyed a fake passport to gain entry into this country.
Abreu said that he ate the fake with the false name and photo with a beer on an Air France flight. He decided to engage in the illegality so not to miss an October 2013 deadline — which would result in the loss of a $68 million contract with the White Sox. His testimony implicated the defendants in the trial of Florida-based sports agent Bartolo Hernandez and baseball trainer Julio Estrada. Both are accused of alien smuggling and conspiracy with Cuban players. However, that still leaves Abreu who, regardless of his immunity, has admitted to criminal conduct in using the illegal passport obtained in Haiti. Everyone else was indicted, including his main facilitator Amin Latouff. So he gets to just keep playing baseball in the major leagues?
The answer from the White Sox appears to be yes. After all, Abreu hit 25 home runs and drove in 100 runs last season. The team just gave him time off to testify like he was attending a family wedding. He is still on the team roster.