Warning: Story contains coarse language
The Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal is officially a cross-sport issue.
Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James took to Twitter on Tuesday to blast the Astros for cheating throughout the 2017 postseason - during which Houston won its first World Series title. LeBron also took aim at Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred for his handling of the matter.
In mid-January, MLB published a nine-page report which concluded the Astros were guilty of stealing signs from their opponents during the 2017 season and playoffs, as well as during part of the 2018 campaign. The league punished the team by suspending manager AJ Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow - who have both since been fired - as well as stripping the Astros of four draft picks and handing them a $5-million fine. Players interviewed by the league's investigators were granted immunity for their testimony and no player was disciplined in any way.
With MLB teams now reporting for spring training camps, the scandal is back in the headlines due to the fact opposing players are weighing in publicly for the first time.
Many players have gone on record stating they wish Astros players had been punished for their roles in the scheme. Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis recently said Houston's players "need a beating," while Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling and Cincinnati Reds right-hander Trevor Bauer said they would intentionally hit Astros batters with a pitch if given the opportunity.
After LeBron expressed his opinion on the matter, Brewers left-hander Brett Anderson posted the following tweet:
Manfred held a press conference regarding the Astros' illegal sign-stealing scheme on Sunday in Florida, where he said he's "more than prepared to tolerate and listen to the debate and criticism about whether or not the punishments that have been levied in this case were sufficient," according to Richard Justice of MLB.com.