In the week leading up to the 2018 FIVB Men’s Volleyball Nations League, Earvin Ngapeth was in Italy settling one of his outstanding legal charges. The French National, who at the time was playing for Modena but recently signed to join Zenit Kazan, was sentenced to one year of probation after a hit-and-run incident in November of 2015 where he struck three men with his car in Italy and fled the scene. One of the three victims was seriously injured.
Ngapeth pleaded guilty in court, and besides the one year of probation, he had his driver’s license suspended for one year (though Ngapeth won’t be living in Italy much longer). According to Gazzetta dello Sport he financially compensated 2 of the 3 victims, while the 3rd has not requested any money.
Ngapeth’s license was already suspended after a December arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol – his blood alcohol content at the time was measured at 1.98, which is almost 4 times the legal limit of .50 in Italy. His team-provided car was towed by police.
Editor’s note: as compared to North America, European blood alcohol contents are displayed in a different scale. Dividing the European number by 10 will give you the North American equivalent.
This is the latest in a long history of off-court trouble for Ngapeth:
- 2010 – a 19-year old Earvin Ngapeth was involved in an argument in the locker room, with rumors that it was because he was benched during the 2010 World Championship. He was expelled from the National Team by Philippe Blain.
- August, 2012 – Ngapeth was involved in a fight in a nightclub in Montpellier, France. In December, 2014 he was sentenced to a 3-month suspended prison sentence
- 2014 – Ngapeth left his club team Kemerovo in Russia, where his father was the coach, without explanation before eventually joining Modena.
- July, 2015 – Ngapeth was arrested on charges of assaulting a train conductor in a train station in Paris. In March of 2018, he was cleared of the charges almost 3 years after the incident.
In an interview with French outlet lefigaro, Ngapeth took responsibility for his mistake. When asked how he felt after the outcome, he said that he was “relieved, of course.”
“I was given a one-year suspended prison sentence because of the big mistake I made two years ago.”
Ngapeth says that he’s learned from his mistakes and that fatherhood has changed him – that he was “not proud to see his name in the newspapers for the wrong reasons.”
“I was punished in the case where I deserved to be and it is up to me to make sure that it does not happen again, that we speak only of volleyball when we mention my name.”
Ngapeth, the most creative outside hitter in men’s volleyball today, was named the MVP and Best Outside Hitter of last year’s World League after leading his team to gold. A year prior, in 2016, he was named the “Most Spectacular Player” in Europe by the CEV, among many other individual awards.
On Friday, in France’s opening match against Iran (a 3-1 win), Ngapeth had 18 points, all of which came on kills in 35 swings (51.4% hitting). 21-year old Jean Patry was 2nd on the team with 17 points.