On Sunday, Tampa Bay Rays star Wander Franco was the subject of some very disturbing allegations.
After social media posts began circulating online showing Franco allegedly engaging in a inappropriate relationship with a 14-year-old girl, he was held out of the Rays’ game against the Guardians.
The Rays said in a statement that they “were made aware of the social media posts that are circulating regarding Wander Franco.” The team also added that they are taking “the situation seriously and are in close contact with Major League Baseball as it conducts its due diligence.”
Franco was in the team’s dugout at the beginning of the game, but left in the middle of the game and did not return to the dugout.
Following the game, a 9-2 Rays loss, Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said Wander Franco did not play because it was “just a day off” for the 22-year-old infielder.
“I am aware of this speculation,” he said. “I’m not going to comment any further on that. But the day off was because (of) the day off.”
— Bally Sports Sun: Rays (@BallyRays) August 13, 2023
Franco, who signed an 11-year, $182 million contract extension with Tampa Bay in 2021, had hit safely in his past seven games and had played in 40 straight games before missing Sunday’s game.
Many found it strange that after playing in 40 consecutive games the Rays chose Sunday to give him a day off since it was Wander Franco Snapback Hat Giveaway Day for all fans 14-years-old and under.
“The timing of this giveaway is mindblowing,” one fan wrote on Twitter, errr, X.
Yeah not like they scheduled it before the season started or anything. Franco also hasn’t had a day off in weeks.
— blowe believer (@amullin836) August 14, 2023
“We are not stupid! Of course he would normally be in the team on his own Giveaway Day. This was not a scheduled day off,” another fan tweeted.
Worst timed sports promotion ever. https://t.co/acihB467D0
— Rob Ostrom (@RobOstrom) August 14, 2023
According to Jeff Passan, Wander Franco did not get on the Rays’ team plane as they traveled to San Francisco for their next series.
UPDATE: Wander Franco was placed on the MLB restricted list as league investigates the situation.