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Rays call Dukes incident "private family matter," will monitor situation

10:51 PM, May 23, 2007   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, FL- It wasn't the front page anyone hopes to see. Wasn't the front page anyone hopes to read about your own employee.

Joe Maddon, Rays Manager: "It's just an unfortunate situation. It's tough to read those things and I feel for the young man and his family. It's never easy to read things like that."

Elijah Dukes now facing serious allegations by his estranged wife. In the St. Pete Times article, NiShea Gilbert claims Dukes has repeatedly threatened her life and the lives of their children. She filed two restraining orders just this month after he confronted her at the middle school where she teaches, in Ruskin.

Dukes was escorted off school grounds and received a Trespassing Warning from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's office.  In the warning. Beth Shields Principal Tom Scott stated Dukes was "very irate." Rays teammates were caught off guard by today's news.

   Carl Crawford, Rays Outfielder:  "He's been fine, you know, no problems, doing everything normal rookies do. That's why I say for this incident to come up, it's a little disappointing, but we just keep doing what we do."

Dukes' arrest record is long, including a domestic violence charge in 2005. He's been court-ordered to stay away from two different women, two different times. He shares children with both. The Rays say they're taking these recent allegations very seriously, but right now, consider this a private family matter. They're monitoring the situation and still believe their rookie can be reformed.

 Matt Silverman, Rays President:  "Elijah's been someone who's been in the organization for years and we've worked with him, and he has made some strides, and that's why we have high hopes that he'll be able to reach his potential. This is obviously something that's a step back, but we think it's something he can recover from."

While NiShea Gilbert has filed restraining orders against her husband, she has not pursued charges regarding the death threats she says she has received. Gilbert played several voicemail threats for the St. Pete Times that she says were from Dukes.

The first restraining order filed in May was dismissed after Gilbert failed to show up in court. A second court hearing on the second restraining order is scheduled for May 30th.


Angela Jacobs, Tampa Bays 10 Sports

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