The Chicago White Sox have rehired a groundskeeper after he was wrongfully imprisoned for the past 23 years. According to the Chicago Tribune, 49-year old Nevest Coleman is returning to the White Sox grounds crew for the 2018 season.
Back in 1994, Coleman was convicted of rape and murder. It wasn't until November 2017 that DNA evidence led to prosecutors vacating the conviction. This month, a Cook County judge finally granted Coleman a certificate of innocence, which cleared his name completely. Since Coleman's false conviction, he has spent 23 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit. Now back at the job he had worked since graduating high school, Coleman reflected on how much he used to enjoy his line of work.
"I’d wake up in the morning proud to go to work," Coleman told the Chicago Tribune. "A lot of times, you get people who get jobs, you go to work, you be like, 'I don’t want to go.' Here, I loved it."
While he was imprisoned, Coleman kept a job making socks, but says he always considered the White Sox crew his "family." Since his release in November, he had expressed an interest in returning to the team. "I want to sit back for a while, get to know my family, and when the time comes around, go back to Comiskey Park," said Coleman. His first day back with the team was spent donning a yellow rubber suit and power washing the ground.
The White Sox organization even released a statement of its own regarding Coleman's hiring. "We’re grateful that after more than two decades, justice has been carried out for Nevest. It has been a long time, but we’re thrilled that we have the opportunity to welcome him back to the White Sox family," the statement read.
Coleman will be taking his rightful place among the White Sox grounds crew come April 5, when the team takes the field at U.S. Cellular Field for its home opener against the Detroit Tigers.