Washington Nationals right-hander Chien-Ming Wang pitched in an extended spring training game on Monday afternoon. Shortly following it, the Taiwanese native held a press conference with Taiwanese reporters to disclose an extra-marital affair he had two years ago.
Here’s some of what Wang had to say in that conference, which Washington-based reporters who cover the team were not notified of, from translated accounts:
“I committed a big mistake two years ago,” Wang said. “I dare not even ask for forgiveness to my family members and fans who have loved and supported me.”
According to a report in Focus Taiwan, Wang had the affair in 2009, while he was undergoing a long, arduous rehab from shoulder surgery and was unsure whether or not he’d play in the major leagues again.
“I was feeling helpless and hopeless during the long hours of rehabilitation every day,” Wang said. “At the low ebb of my life, I had this affair.
“Due to my one-time weakness, I’ve hurt my wife, family members and the third party. And I can’t find words to describe my indebtedness to them. The forgiveness shown by my wife and family have made me feel even more shame.”
Wang’s celebrity in Taiwan is difficult to grasp here in the United States. Taiwanese reporters compare him to Michael Jordan, or the stature of someone like Tiger Woods, whose every move is scrutinized and, apparently, had a “boyish, clean image” which endeared him to fans.
Wang told reporters the affair went on for eight months at which point he ended it but, reportedly, the woman threatened to go to the media. One tabloid in Taiwan, Apple Daily, published photos of Wang with the woman, at which point Wang felt it was necessary to come clean about his affair.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo was made aware of the situation by Wang himself and while it is unclear if the team knew he’d hold a press conference on Monday, they did release this statement from Rizzo once the situation came to light:
“Chien-Ming Wang has my full support, and the support of the Washington Nationals organization, as he and his family deal with a difficult personal situation,” Rizzo said. “I appreciated Chien-Ming’s honesty in relaying the facts to me directly and I am satisfied that he has accepted responsibility for his actions.
“I hope the time will not be distant when his family can put this ordeal behind them and a healthy Chien-Ming can focus on returning to the mound and to his team.”
Wang strained his left hamstring on March 15 and has been on the road back to full health since then. The Nationals said they do not plan to have any further comment on this issue.