Puig asks Fla trooper to let him go after speeding
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig begs a trooper who clocked him going 110 mph in Florida to let him go and later chides himself in the back seat of a police car for driving so fast, video released Wednesday shows.
The 23-year-old Cuban defector was charged with reckless driving in a 70 mph zone in Naples. Puig, who lives in the Miami area during the offseason, told the trooper he wasn’t speeding for most of the two-hour trip north until the officer clocked him. But the officer is unsympathetic.
“This is your mom? Oh, you’re going to jail. You are putting your mom in danger, oh hell no,” the trooper says in Spanish on Dec. 28 to Puig. “Why were you driving that fast? You don’t care about anyone’s life in the car?”
Puig responds: “Yes, I do care. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”
The video shows the trooper explaining to Puig’s mother, a cousin and another passenger why he was being arrested.
“The reason why we are in this situation is because he didn’t care about his mother’s life or your lives, and he’s going to jail,” he said in Spanish. Puig’s mother is heard sobbing.
While in the backseat, Puig tells himself: “Why do you have to drive so fast, Puig? You have to learn.” He repeatedly asked the officer to let him go, at one point saying he would “do anything” and that he would never drive again, “but please don’t take me to jail.”
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said Wednesday that he spoke with Puig that day.
“He knew he was not in a good spot. He knew that he had let a lot of people down,” Colletti said, adding that he asked Puig how he planned to explain his arrest to Little Leaguers he has worked with in Los Angeles.
Colletti suggested that having his mother in the car may help Puig understand the gravity of the situation.
“That may have been a moment that could be another one of those steps toward figuring it out,” he said.
The Dodgers will continue to try to educate and mentor Puig, although Colletti said the team won’t have anyone minding him around the clock.
“That’s not going to necessarily stop everything either,” he said.
Manager Don Mattingly said Wednesday that he hasn’t spoken to Puig recently.
“There’s good and bad with Yasiel. We see the cool things he’s done during the offseason and then we see this,” he said. “It’s something that hopefully he’ll continue to grow.”
Colletti said Puig has spent some of the offseason in Los Angeles playing baseball with youngsters at Dodger Stadium and elsewhere.
“He’s setting this great example and he’s doing stuff that I haven’t really seen many big league players ever do within the community,” he said. “At the same time, there’s boundaries you got to stay in, whether it’s how you drive or other things in your life.”
In April last year, Puig was clocked going 97 in a 50 mph zone in Tennessee, though those charges were later dismissed.
Puig signed a $42 million, seven-year contract in June 2012, a record for a Cuban defector. He received a $12 million signing bonus and made $2 million last season.