PANAMA CITY – Just weeks after being unanimously selected for the first time by the Baseball Hall of Fame, Mariano Rivera defends accusations in his country, Panama, of failing to entertain two children. he had out of wedlock.
The former New York Yankees' relative described the claims against him in the Central American country as "unfounded".
"I've always acted … like a good family man," the 49-year-old journalist told local media.
Rivera's remarks came when he was invited to appear before the Panamanian judicial authorities to respond to accusations that he had failed to fulfill his obligations to support boys and girls aged 11 and 15.
"He came to clean up his image in front of the media, instead of warning the authorities and facing the process" against him, said Yovany Wyznick Ortega, a lawyer for the children's mother.
Addressing the Associated Press, Ortega claimed that Rivera and the children had "always shared," but that the former player had stopped seeing them and had "abandoned" them two years ago. years.
"He stopped paying for his children and put them in a critical economic situation," she said.
The lawyer said Rivera would face five lawsuits filed several months ago. She said that if he did not appear before the judicial authorities, she would ask him to prevent him from leaving the country.
Little was known about the charges against him until February 11, when information that a hearing convened by Rivera's lawyers did not take place began to appear in the local media.
Rivera lives in New York but was back in Panama on Tuesday. He gave an unexpected radio interview, then appeared in front of the local media with his lawyers and presented a brief written statement.
"It is true that the courts face unfounded claims that affect my children that I love with all my heart," the statement said.
Rivera is married and has three children of the marriage.
At the end of January, the Panamanians celebrated the moment when Rivera was first unanimously selected by the Baseball Hall of Fame and only the second Panamanian was selected. The other is Rod Carew.
Rivera is the leader of the baseball career with 652 players in the regular season and 11 more in the world series.