The 2021 Los Angeles Dodgers, on paper, looked to be an unstoppable juggernaut. The truth is baseball isn’t easy, and it’s never black and white. The Dodgers are good, no one’s denying that, but they’re not slaying the competition either. They sit one and a half games back of the surprise, best record in baseball, San Francisco Giants in the National League West. The Dodgers were able to add to their embarrassment of riches when they nabbed prized free-agent starter, and reigning Cy Young winner, Trevor Bauer in the offseason. Bauer though is facing some disturbing charges though that could change the complexion of the season.
Some Disturbing Details
Last night TMZ opened a whole can of worms on the Dodgers, and really, the baseball world when it was reported that Trevor Bauer was accused of sexual assault. TMZ had learned that an alleged victim was granted a temporary domestic violence restraining order against Bauer. According to the alleged victim’s lawyer, she “sought and obtained an Order for Protection from the Court against Mr. Trevor Bauer, under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act.” Bauer, and his lawyer claim, “Mr. Bauer had a brief and wholly consensual sexual relationship initiated by [the accuser] beginning in April 2021. We have messages that show [the accuser] repeatedly asking for ‘rough’ sexual encounters involving requests to be ‘choked out’ and slapped in the face.”
Major League Baseball Has a Domestic Violence Issue
These allegations against Trevor Bauer are just a small part of a bigger issue that Major League Baseball has with domestic violence. It wasn’t even until 2015 that a domestic violence policy was put into place. 2015! Think about that. It’s 2021. Just six years ago. Six years! It’s sickening that it took that long for a policy to be put into action. Absolutely sicking. The first player to be suspended, under the act, was New York Yankees closer, Aroldis Chapman in March of 2016. Since Chapman, José Reyes, Héctor Olivera, Jeurys Familia, Derek Norris, Steven Wright, Josè Torres, Roberto Osuna, Addison Russell, Odúbel Herrera, Julio Urías, Domingo Germán, and Sam Dyson have been suspended to varying degrees. Dyson is the latest suspension and the most severe punishment of 162 games.
Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of the policy…
Treatment and Intervention:
A joint policy board, consisting of three experts in the field and two representatives each from the MLBPA and the Commissioner’s Office has been established. The board is responsible for developing a treatment plan.
Players may be required to submit to psychological evaluations, attend counseling sessions, comply with court orders (including child support orders), relocate from a home shared with his partner, limit his interactions with his partner, relinquish all weapons, and other reasonable directives designed to promote the safety of the player’s partner, children, or victims.
Players who fail to comply are subject to discipline from the Commissioner. All information is to be kept confidential.
The Commissioner’s Office will investigate all allegations of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse involving members of the baseball community. The Commissioner may place an accused player on paid administrative leave for up to seven days while allegations are investigated. Players may challenge any decision before the arbitration panel.
The Commissioner will decide on appropriate discipline, with no minimum or maximum penalty under the policy. Players may challenge such decisions to the arbitration panel.
Training, Education and Resources:
All players will be provided education about domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse in both English and Spanish at regular intervals. Resources to players’ families — including referral information, websites, hotline numbers, and outreach facilities — will be made available, along with a confidential 24-hour helpline.
An annual program of community outreach will be developed. It may include public service announcements featuring players, domestic violence awareness days at ballparks, and other activities designed to spread awareness on the issues.
The Issue at Hand
The real issue is that, like with other sports, if you’re good at what you do, you’re seemingly allowed back into the sport with open arms. Chapman and Germán have been pitching successfully for the New York Yankees in 2021. Familia enjoys his time in Queens right now. Herrera plays for the Phillies, and Urías pitches for the Dodgers.
José Reyes hasn’t played Major League Baseball since 2018, Héctor Olivera since 2016, Norris since 2016, Wright since 2019, Torres 2017, Osuna 2020, Russell 2019. Sam Dyson was suspended for the whole of the 2021 season.
All of these men violated the domestic violence policy to varying degrees, and of course, people aren’t above rehabilitation. Yet, some of these men are praised for what they do in their sport, while they have, in their personal lives, done horrible things. And let’s remember, just because a case is dismissed, and the victim doesn’t want to testify, it doesn’t mean the incident didn’t occur. At the end of the day, it’s important to believe victims.
Russell and Osuna have found difficulty getting back into Major League Baseball. Russell played for the KBO in 2020. Osuna currently plays for the Mexican League.
It’s always up for debate whether or not MLB should allow second chances. It seems as if some MLB teams make their own decisions, based on evidence, as to whether, or not, they want someone associated with domestic abuse on their ballclub. Teams have seemingly made their minds up about Osuna and Russell. What will become of Bauer? Or Atlanta Braves outfielder Marcell Ozuna, who was arrested on domestic abuse charges in late May. Time will tell. We need to hold these men accountable for their actions. and, once again, we must believe victims. Victim blaming gets us, as a society, nowhere near getting the help and justice these victims need and deserve. Let’s all be better, MLB included.
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Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images