On Monday, the defending champion Lamigo Monkeys of the Chinese Professional Baseball League announced that they had signed former Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich, who pleaded guilty to molesting his 6-year-old niece in 2012. Heimlich was probably a first-round talent, but he was not drafted by any major league club in June’s draft, though the Royals seemed to entertain the idea. Heimlich has denied that he committed any crime, and he blamed the guilty plea on “bad legal advice.”
However, hours after the Monkeys announced the signing, the CPBL stepped in and announced that they would need to review Heimlich’s case before approving his contract. The CPBL then demanded that the Monkeys terminate Heimlich’s contract immediately because of his criminal record, per CPBL Stats:
Based on article 94 of the Players Misconduct Acts, Luke Heimlich’s criminal background clearly breached the rule when it comes to hiring new players.
By signing Heimlich, the Monkeys have damaged the league’s public image. Therefore, the league demand the Monkeys to terminate Heimlich’s contract immediately. The CPBL has a zero tolerance policy on this type of issues.
The CPBL has kicked players out of the league before over their criminal records, including former star pitcher Huang Sheng-Hsiung. According to CPBL Stats, the league allowed the Monkeys to appeal the process and attempt to prove Heimlich’s innocence, but they officially voided the deal shortly afterward.