No Excuses

Recently in MLB, Commissioner Rob Manfred has dealt with domestic abuse charges placed on some of his players.

This past season, Aroldis Chapman and Jose Reyes were handed out suspensions for their domestic abuse scandals. Yasiel Puig was also involved in a domestic abuse case last year, but did not face a suspension. On Oct. 31, Jeurys Familia was arrested for his own domestic abuse incident. Ironically, that day last year was when Reyes was arrested for assaulting his significant other.

The New York Mets have already resigned Reyes for next season, and it’s very likely that they will hold onto Familia despite his putrid act. As a Mets fan, this sickens me.

I understand that Reyes issued an apology to the media and Familia likely will too, before the start of next season, but an apology is not enough. The fact that there have been instances where professional athletes can physically beat their significant others, simply say that they’re sorry and then proceed to keep making millions of dollars is a shame to the game of baseball.

Yes, Chapman and Reyes served 30 and 51 game suspensions, without pay, respectively. I do give Manfred credit that he handles domestic violence cases much better than NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Let us not forget that Goodell wanted to suspend Ray Rice for a measly two games after news broke that the former running back beat his wife in an elevator and then dragged her out of it.

That being said, I do not believe that Manfred’s punishments are severe enough. In general, I don’t believe that the issue of domestic violence in sports is taken seriously enough.

You’ll hear fellow players, coaches and general managers defending these domestic abusers and still hoping to acquire them for their respective teams. Chicago Cubs Manager Joe Maddon said in an interview regarding Chapman that “We don’t know him, he doesn’t know us, and he really doesn’t know the language. My best advice, and for me, too, is to attempt to build a relationship.”

Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz said of Reyes, “He’s a good kid. But people are going crazy and want to judge him. We’re not perfect. We all make mistakes. That’s no excuse, but people are judging him without knowing everything.”

Yes, we are not perfect and we do make mistakes. But certain things in life are inexcusable, and domestic abuse is one of them. 

To the extent of our knowledge, in none of these cases were any of these players being physically threatened. If that fact stands to be true, those defending these scumbag players are no less ignorant than the domestic abusers themselves.

During broadcasts of games, it is not always brought up as to why a player involved in a domestic abuse scandal was suspended for a certain amount of time. Yet if a player takes performance-enhancing drugs, it is talked about nonstop and they are viewed at as a villain and awful human being. Player such as Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds are hated by baseball fans for their steroid scandals, yet we see someone like Chapman, who just recently was a part of the Cubs’ first championship team in 108 years, being celebrated. The fact that substance abuse is taken way more seriously than domestic abuse is a disgrace.

These are not players that should be honored or looked up to by younger fans, and MLB is not doing enough to raise more awareness of this issue. Stricter punishments need to be implemented.

An example of a possible suitable punishment comes from the NFL. Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson played one game of the 2014 season before being suspended without pay for the remainder of the season. He was ordered to 80 hours of community service as well as attending counseling for beating his then four-year-old son. Goodell may have botched the Rice case, but this scandal was handled much better by the controversial commissioner.

I urge a similar punishment to be placed on any player in any sport that commits domestic abuse.

There is no way to entirely prevent everyone from physically harming their significant other. There are always going to be terrible people doing terrible things. But at the very least, those who are involved in a domestic abuse scandal should not be celebrated and should have to endure a very strict punishment, regardless of their athletic talent.