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Do Athletes Get a Pass in the US Justice System?

Felipe Vázquez, nicknamed the ‘Nightmare,’ is a former Venezuelan professional baseball pitcher who played for the Washington Nationals and the Pittsburg Pirates. He was an All-star in 2018 and then again in 2019. Despite his successful baseball career, Vázquez was placed on the restricted lists for both of his former teams due to inappropriate behavior off the field.

On Tuesday, Vázquez was sentenced to two to four years of jail time after being convicted of statutory sexual assault, child pornography, and other charges involving a girl who was thirteen years old at the time. It was reported that Vázquez communicated with the girl via text for two years, and he met her in Pittsburg, where he attempted to have sex with her. He is also facing related charges in Florida and Missouri.

To put this into perspective, a drug possession charge in the 1st degree can range anywhere from eight to twenty years. I understand as much as the next person the consequences of breaking the law, especially when it comes to drug possession, but it’s troubling that a pound of coke can get you more time than touching a child.

Vázquez is not close to being the only professional athlete suspected of or charged with assault where the charges were dropped or the consequences were minuscule. It’s time to analyze how a person’s social status allows them to abuse a system meant to protect the American people.

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