‘Molestation and harassment of juniors → Release’ The biggest controversy in professional baseball in Japan, and the ace with 197 wins in the U.S. and Japan also bowed his head

Ace Masahiro Tanaka, 35, has apologized for his role in the Rakuten Golden Eagles’ sexual misconduct and harassment controversy in Japanese professional baseball.

“Tanaka first addressed the issue of harassment of juniors by fellow pitcher Tomohiro Anraku through his X and apologized,” Japanese media outlet Full Count reported on Feb. 2.레모나토토

Rakuten recently faced a major controversy when it was revealed that Anraku had molested and harassed a junior. Japanese media reported on March 27 that Anraku had harassed many of his juniors. According to reports, Anraku repeatedly verbally abused and physically assaulted junior players.

In the locker room, he molested a younger player by forcing him to do a handstand, exposing his lower body, and persistently called him late at night when he did not respond to his invitations. He also hit a junior in the head, disrupting his training.

In response to the allegations against Anraku, Rakuten indefinitely postponed salary negotiations with Anraku and conducted an internal investigation. The investigation found the allegations to be true, and Rakuten informed Anraku that he would not be re-signed.

Anraku, who joined Rakuten as a first-round pick in the 2014 Nippon Professional Baseball Draft, is a right-handed reliever with a career record of 18-21, 50 holds, three saves and a 3.59 ERA in 231 games (365⅔ innings) in Nippon Professional Baseball. He struggled a bit last year, but has rebounded this year with a 3-2 record, 10 saves, and a 3.04 ERA in 57 games (47⅓ innings). However, he left the team after allegations of bullying a junior were found to be true.

Rakuten said on its website, “We sincerely apologize for the worrying and disturbing situation that has arisen, and we deeply regret that we have not created an environment where players can consult with us. To prevent bullying and similar behavior from occurring in the future, we will set up a consultation center and implement measures to prevent recurrence, such as continuous education.”

Rakuten President Masayuki Morii also commented, “The player himself has repeatedly said that he is truly sorry. He wants to apologize directly to the victims and fans. We will not deny Anraku his entire life. He was a member of our club, so we will continue to monitor him closely.”

Rakuten ace Tanaka himself admitted that he was not immune to the controversy and apologized. “I apologize for causing distress to the fans,” Tanaka said, adding, “Harassment is something that should never be allowed. As a senior player on the team, I should have been more concerned about the behavior of the younger players and should have taken the initiative to seek counseling and pay attention to any problems,” he said.

“I understand that each player and the club have had a frank conversation about this matter,” Tanaka said, adding, “I will do my best to ensure that the team is once again united for the next season and that fans can support the team with confidence.”

Tanaka is Japan’s national ace with a career record of 119-67 with a 2.66 ERA in 247 games (1773 innings) in Nippon Professional Baseball. He has also played in Major League Baseball, compiling a 78-46 record with a 3.74 ERA in 174 games (1054⅓ innings) and 197 career wins in the United States. He is just three wins away from his 200th career victory. Hideo Nomo and Hiroki Kuroda are the only two pitchers to reach 200 career wins.

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