Los Angeles Angels outfielder, Torii Hunter, a 13-year veteran and winner of nine consecutive Gold Glove awards, has taken a leave of absence from the team to deal with his son’s arrest in Prosper, Texas, a suburb of Dallas.
Hunter’s 17-year-old son, Darius McClinton-Hunter of McKinney, Texas, was arrested in Prosper when police came into his high school and took him, 17-year-old Garrick White and three juveniles away and charged them with second-degree felony sexual assault of a child. According to his attorney, Todd Shapiro, McClinton-Hunter was arraigned, pleaded not guilty and posted $15,000 bond last Monday. No court date has been set.
The Angels organization has not commented on the situation although several players have offered support but are unwilling to comment without knowing any of the facts. On Monday, Torii tweeted, “This is very tough for a father. Thanks for ur prayers and support. Be Blessed everyone!”
The arrests come at the end of a months-long investigation according to prosecutors who allege that McClinton-Hunter was a member of a group that drugged girls and had sex with them. The boys in the group called themselves Team Snapback and one of them is accused of dragging a girl into a closet where McClinton-Hunter forced her to have oral sex.
“We were stunned by these accusations, disappointed by the way it was handled, but completely confident that the facts will prove Darius is innocent,” Shapiro said. “He, as well as his family, looks (sic) forward to the opportunity to clear his name at the appropriate time.”
Team Snapback has been described by local parents and students as a group of “hard-partying” teens, mostly the popular kids and football players, and is known for big parties. Others are apparently afraid to cross them.
“Prosper is such a football school that when you’re a great athlete in football you do run the school and the town,” Prosper High School senior, Chandler Point, told KDAF TV in Dallas.
McClinton-Hunter is a junior wide receiver at Prosper who is being recruited by big college programs including Oklahoma, Texas Tech and West Virginia among others. At this point, it is unclear whether any of those schools will withdraw their scholarship offers because of the accusations against Darius.
McClinton-Hunter’s mother, LanikaMcClinton, was also arrested Monday morning while taking her son to school. She was charged with driving without a valid license.
Torii has two other sons, Torii Hunter Jr. and Monshadrik Hunter, who played for Prosper last season.
Hunter is a four-time All-Star and is hitting .256 with five homers and 15 RBI this season. He is one of the few Black Major League Baseball players that is willing to speak publicly about the lack of Black players in the Majors. According to the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports, Black players made up 10.2 percent of major leaguers in 2008. That is the highest that number has been since 1995.
One year ago, Torii made headlines and upset the Latino community when in a USA Today roundtable discussion about baseball, he referred to Latino players as “imposters” when the subject of the lack of Black players came up.
“People see dark faces out there, and the perception is that they’re African-American,” he said. “They’re not us. They’re impostors. Even people I know come up and say: ‘Hey, what color is Vladimir Guerrero? Is he a black player?’ I say, ‘Come on, he’s Dominican. He’s not Black.’
“As African-American players, we have a theory that baseball can go get an imitator and pass them off as us. It’s like they had to get some kind of dark faces, so they go to the Dominican or Venezuela because you can get them cheaper. It’s like, ‘Why should I get this kid from the South Side of Chicago and have Scott Boras represent him and pay him $5 million when you can get a Dominican guy for a bag of chips?’ … I’m telling you, it’s sad.”
I’m sure his son’s arrest is sad, too.