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Discussing Domestic Abuse

There are often events outside of the game remind us to put the game into perspective. The most morbid example of this came in late September when Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez passed away in a boating accident. Another situation involves arrests of athletes.

In the NFL, there is the case of Josh Brown. The New York Giants kicker was suspended one game by the NFL for a domestic abuse case. When reports came out of his detailed journals of his abuse against his wife, the Giants didn’t have him fly to Europe with the team. He has since been added to the Commissioner's’ Exempt list and likely will never play in the NFL again. Same thing happened with Ray Rice. The Vikings Adrian Peterson missed a year due to domestic abuse.
Image courtesy of Ken Blaze, USA Today
Unfortunately, baseball hasn’t been immune to the same issues. Cubs reliever Aroldis Chapman closed out the NLCS by tossing nothing but 100-103 mph fastballs.

Last offseason, unfortunately, it wasn’t Chapman’s fastball that people were talking about. In early December, a dozen police officers were called to Chapman’s home. He shot a gun eight times into his garage. That was after an incident in his home in which he allegedly choked his girlfriend and pushed her against a wall in his home theater. No charges were filed because stories changed and conflicted, but there was enough there in MLB's eyes and Chapman was given a 30-game suspension by MLB.

The Reds traded Chapman to the Yankees. Almost a week before the July 31st trade deadline, Theo Epstein OKd a trade to the Cubs. Chapman has continued to be what he is, which is the best, most dominant closer in the game.

For Chicago sports fans, the moral dilemma is a familiar one. It is a situation that played itself out a year earlier when Blackhawks’ star Patrick Kane was arrested for rape (though he was never charged).

In a New York Times story, Chapman said, “People are thinking it’s something serious; I have not put my hands on anyone, didn’t put anyone in danger.”

Sure. That’s why his girlfriend called 911 while hiding in some bushes outside the house.

He added, “It was just an argument with your partner that everyone has.” (emphasis mine)

My assumption, hopefully not naive, is that Chapman’s thinking is in the minority, that most ballplayer and most people in general do not think like that.

Last offseason, Jose Reyes was with his wife at a resort in Hawaii. Police reports stated the Reyes grabbed his wife by the throat and threw her against a sliding door. He was suspended 51 games by the league, through May 31st. At that time, the Rockies released him. He later signed with the New York Mets.

It’s also interesting and maybe a little scary to see teammates quickly support their friend. Giants players were put in an awkward position when they were asked about the Josh Brown situation. Several, including their coach, chose to say that they wanted to support their teammate. A nice gesture, but not really something that many would want to defend.

Following the Chapman and Reyes suspension announcements, David Ortiz was asked about it. He said, “These are good guys. I feel so bad for them. I know Jose well. He is not a troublemaker. He’s a good guy.”

It’s hard to blame Ortiz for that comment. He was asked and gave an answer. The reality is that we don’t necessarily know everything that happens in the homes of our friends and neighbors. We may not know if there is physical abuse occurring. Even more difficult to know in many cases is the psychological abuse that can happen. Those scars may not be visible, but they can last for a long time.

In 2006, Phillies pitcher Brett Myers was arrestedfor punching his wife in the face in Boston. “Police showed up after a 911 call and saw severe swelling on the left side of her face — he used his pitching hand — and she said he had punched her. He was arrested on the spot, and he was released on $200 bail ... paid by his wife.”

Also in 2006, Tigers infielder Dmitri Young was arrested. He was 32, and his 21-year-old former girlfriend reported the incident three days later. “They said she had bruises on her hip and leg, the newspaper reported, and photographs showed scratches on her neck, upper body and leg.”

In 1995, Atlanta manager Bobby Cox was arrested for punching his wife and pulling her hair.

In 1997, Wil Cordero was arrested for threatening to kills his wife in the presence of police officers. Originally the Red Sox did nothing, but when they learned of a previous domestic abuse charged they chose to suspend him for eight games. The league did nothing.

In 2003, the Astros released Julio Lugo after he was arrested for hitting his wife and slamming her face into a car hood. The Rays signed him soon after and he played in the big leagues through 2011.

The Minnesota Twins have also been hurt by a couple of cases, though in both cases, the events occurred following their playing careers.

You will remember, just a couple of years ago, the Twins announced the 2B Chuck Knoblauch was going to become a Twins Hall of Famer. After reports came out of his arrest for grabbing, hitting and even throwing a humidifier at his wife, the Twins chose to cancel Knoblauch’s induction. Knoblauch had been arrested five years earlier on similar charges.

And, soon after Kirby Puckett was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, in 2001, reports came out of his infidelity and other transgressions. In October of 2002, he was arrested for “sexual assault and false imprisonment for allegedly groping a woman after pulling her into the bathroom of a Minnesota restaurant.”

The 2003 Sports Illustrated article by Frank Deford opened up all of our eyes. Puckett was a hero to many, yours truly included.

In it, it talks about Puckett’s then-wife (December 2001) calling police and telling them that he had threatened to kill her. She said that he previously had strangled her with electrical cord. He had used a power tool to break through a door she had locked to get to her. He even once had a gun to her head and threatened to pull the trigger.

Kirby Puckett was my last hero. I find it now important to separate what happens on the field of play and the person, even if that person is someone who does so much good in the community or owns a Roberto Clemente Award for community service.

Even after the reports, arrests and allegations, Puckett still had his front office job with an office at the Metrodome. To this day, those that knew him speak only glowingly about their teammate and friend.

MLB and their players association have set up some domestic abuse policies. These include annual training and support and emergency hotlines, as well as framework for punishment. It’s a good start, and hopefully they will continue to improve upon it.

It is a difficult subject to read about. It’s difficult to write about as well. With Aroldis Chapman pitching the Cubs to the World Series and getting a ton of credit, maybe it’s the perfect time to broach the subject. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy watching Aroldis Chapman pitch and watching for the radar gun readings after each and every pitch. Likewise I’ll never forget the joy that watching Kirby Puckett play gave me from the time I was eight until I was 19.

Domestic abuse happens, far too often, in professional sports, and baseball has had far too many cases over the years. It happens to people in every profession, in every walk of life. It happens to the rich, and it happens to the middle and lower classes.

Maybe it can create a discussion about hero-worship among athletes, about putting them on a pedestal. It can create discussion between fathers and sons, between husbands and wives. If nothing else, maybe this article can be read by someone who will choose not to verbally or psychologically abuse their spouse or significant other. Maybe it can give courage to one person who suddenly realizes that she or he is a victim.

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37 Comments

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KirbyDome89
Oct 25 2016 03:13 AM

"hero-worship among athletes, putting them on a pedestal."

 

I think this has everything to do with it. Like you stated, domestic abuse is an unfortunate part of all walks of life, it isn't unique to athletes or one sex. I've never been comfortable with the hero label regarding athletes. Everybody is entitled to choose their own role model but personally I need mine to be a person I know beyond what I see on a field or a television screen. The pedestal is the reason for a lot of the extreme reaction after an abuse story comes out. Fans either don't want to believe their hero could do such a thing and therefore defend or deny the actions, or they're so hurt by the actions that they demand instant justice, often in the form of lifetime banishment. 

    • TheLeviathan, hybridbear and TheBoofIsLoose like this
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Cory Engelhardt
Oct 25 2016 06:18 AM

The national domestic violence hotline is 1.800.799.7233. Locally in the Twin Cities, Tubman is an advocate for domestic violence, and their 24 hour domestic violence line is 612.825.0000.

If you are in need of help or resources, or know someone that may be in need of resources, please pass these phone numbers along.

    • Seth Stohs, drbob524, Craig Arko and 6 others like this

There has been a lot of academic work on this topic since the 1990's.  If you go to scholar.google.com and search "athletes and violence against women" You will find plenty of articles.  I have posted some links below.  The positive is that our society is beginning to address this issue although we have a very long way to go.  At the risk of over simplification, there are several factors involved.  

 

1).  Men who play violent sports are more likely to be involved in domestic violence.

2).  Domestic violence/abuse tends to be overlooked in students athletes at a young age and in college (Brock Turner is an example).

3).  Domestic violence/abuse also tends to be overlooked in other rich, famous, powerful people.  Think of the movie stars (Bill Crosby) and politicians that have been involved in domestic abuse.  

 

https://scholar.goog...es and violence

 

http://www.ayfcoachi...ntItem/4488.pdf

 

Unnecessary roughness? School sports, peer networks, and male adolescent violence.
http://asr.sagepub.c.../72/5/705.short

This article examines the extent to which participation in high school interscholastic sports contributes to male violence. Deriving competing hypotheses from social control, social learning, and masculinity theories, I use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to test if (1) type of sport and (2) peer athletic participation, contribute to the risks of male serious fighting. Contrary to social control expectations, analyses suggest that athletic involvement fails to inhibit male violence. Moreover, there is a strong relationship between contact sports and violence. Football players and wrestlers, as opposed to baseball, basketball, tennis, and other athletes, are significantly more likely than nonathletic males to be involved in a serious fight. Additionally, the direct effect of football is explained by the football participation of individuals' peers. Males whose friends play football are more likely to fight than other males, supporting perspectives that emphasize peer contexts as important mediators. Overall, findings are consistent with the expectations of social learning and masculinity arguments. The theoretical and policy implications of these results are discussed.

    • Seth Stohs and prouster like this
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HitInAPinch
Oct 25 2016 07:33 AM

Seth,

 

I really appreciate you writing this article.In the 8 years that I lived in SW New Mexico, I was one of the 'Founding Fathers' of The Friends of The Healing House.The Healing House is a domestic violence center located in Deming, NM.My job as President was to lead "The Friends" through the 501c3 application and the IRS non-profit status, introduction of The Friends into the community and basic building of "The Friends".

 

Fund raising is always a challenge.I ran across this just last week:Amazon Smile.It's Amazon' charitable arm, will 1 million charities listed.TheFriends of The Healing House is on the list.

 

"The difference is that when customers shop on AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com), the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organizations selected by customers."

 

Just a little something for people to think about during the approaching holiday season.

 

Thanks,David

    • Seth Stohs, Cory Engelhardt, Oldgoat_MN and 3 others like this

Thanks for writing the article, Seth. It's a difficult subject in our society, and I hope we as humans take this subject as seriously as we do with sports. 

When it comes to these athletes and DV, I'm not sure if it's the right thing to put the responsibility on their employer (Mets, MLB, NFL, etc.) to enforce the punishment. It's relatively new for all sports leagues, and they're wildly inconsistent with their suspensions... Almost relying on public opinion while they consider next steps. 

 

Simply suspending someone from their profession without working on changing their behavior will not work in the long run... Aroldis Chapman for example was interviewed twice by a psychologist, as mandated by MLB, and attended one counseling session. Was that enough to make Chapman a changed man? Who knows. But I would prefer more counseling and behavior change than simply burying the issue. 

 

    • Seth Stohs and Cory Engelhardt like this

 

"hero-worship among athletes, putting them on a pedestal."

 

I think this has everything to do with it. Like you stated, domestic abuse is an unfortunate part of all walks of life, it isn't unique to athletes or one sex. I've never been comfortable with the hero label regarding athletes. Everybody is entitled to choose their own role model but personally I need mine to be a person I know beyond what I see on a field or a television screen. The pedestal is the reason for a lot of the extreme reaction after an abuse story comes out. Fans either don't want to believe their hero could do such a thing and therefore defend or deny the actions, or they're so hurt by the actions that they demand instant justice, often in the form of lifetime banishment. 

 

That should be the case, but when you're 10 or 12 and you watch these guys on TV, it happens. Whether it's maturity or not... athletes become role models. It is an awesome responsibility. I should point out that a great majority of them take that responsibility seriously and generally do the right things. 

    • Cory Engelhardt likes this

The issue for me is a bit different - I really resent the simplistic ways media and the Commissioners Offices handle these things. It's not being handled as a real issue, it's being treated like a PR problem.

 

A nice parallel example is DUIs. DUIs are bad and deserve punishment but if you're an accountant or work in a coffee shop, your employer doesn't suspend you because you got a DUI. They let the courts run their process and set punishments. Pro sports have taken to suspending or releasing guys with DUIs because they worry about driving off fans or giving newspaper columnists something to rail against. The concern has nothing (or little) to do with being upset about the idiocy of drunk driving or wanting to help a player out - they are focused on money and PR. If they really cared, they'd have programs set up to help players with DUIs get support to make better choices in the future.

 

This focus on the PR is an even bigger problem when it comes to domestic abuse because the issue is a lot harder to figure out. We have a logical set of punishments for DUIs but don't for domestic abuse because it's not as black-and-white of a crime. If we send abusers to jail, their families often suffer right alongside them. Mom might have to enter a workforce she is not trained for and children suffer without a parent around. And even if Dad gets out of jail a changed man (doubtful since prison is about punishment, not rehabilitation), he's going to have a hard time finding a job with a blemish on his record. That's a big reason why charges are so rarely pursued - everyone involved has an incentive to keep the abuser out of jail because jail solves nothing and can often create larger or different problems. The system society has set up actively promotes women to stay with abusers because they can't afford not to.

 

What's so frustrating is that pro sports has a chance (for once) to be on the forefront of highlighting solutions to a societal problem but regularly chooses not to. Their money-driven response is to suspend and release players, the equivalent of sending them to jail. It's good PR to suspend guys and seem like you're taking the issue seriously but in reality, it's about the same as ignoring the incidents. Pro sports does nothing to try to solve the actual problem. Baseball could help develop ways of providing real counseling, substance abuse training and relationship dynamics support to tackle the core issues of domestic abuse. They have the resources to provide free anger management and family counseling but instead just suspend a guy and garnish his wages. A logical plan could even help develop a nice treatment pattern to be applied to society as a whole allowing sports to contribute something to society.

 

But no, it's about money. MLB suspends Chapman and then fans either forget about it and cheer for his fastball or never forgive him and make him a social piranha. Neither one does anything to help Chapman and his family or to change the distressing narrative and patterns of domestic abuse.

 

It's really very sad.

    • Seth Stohs, HitInAPinch, Eris and 3 others like this

 

The issue for me is a bit different - I really resent the simplistic ways media and the Commissioners Offices handle these things. It's not being handled as a real issue, it's being treated like a PR problem.

 

A nice parallel example is DUIs. DUIs are bad and deserve punishment but if you're an accountant or work in a coffee shop, your employer doesn't suspend you because you got a DUI. They let the courts run their process and set punishments. Pro sports have taken to suspending or releasing guys with DUIs because they worry about driving off fans or giving newspaper columnists something to rail against. The concern has nothing (or little) to do with being upset about the idiocy of drunk driving or wanting to help a player out - they are focused on money and PR. If they really cared, they'd have programs set up to help players with DUIs get support to make better choices in the future.

 

This focus on the PR is an even bigger problem when it comes to domestic abuse because the issue is a lot harder to figure out. We have a logical set of punishments for DUIs but don't for domestic abuse because it's not as black-and-white of a crime. If we send abusers to jail, their families often suffer right alongside them. Mom might have to enter a workforce she is not trained for and children suffer without a parent around. And even if Dad gets out of jail a changed man (doubtful since prison is about punishment, not rehabilitation), he's going to have a hard time finding a job with a blemish on his record. That's a big reason why charges are so rarely pursued - everyone involved has an incentive to keep the abuser out of jail because jail solves nothing and can often create larger or different problems. The system society has set up actively promotes women to stay with abusers because they can't afford not to.

 

What's so frustrating is that pro sports has a chance (for once) to be on the forefront of highlighting solutions to a societal problem but regularly chooses not to. Their money-driven response is to suspend and release players, the equivalent of sending them to jail. It's good PR to suspend guys and seem like you're taking the issue seriously but in reality, it's about the same as ignoring the incidents. Pro sports does nothing to try to solve the actual problem. Baseball could help develop ways of providing real counseling, substance abuse training and relationship dynamics support to tackle the core issues of domestic abuse. They have the resources to provide free anger management and family counseling but instead just suspend a guy and garnish his wages. A logical plan could even help develop a nice treatment pattern to be applied to society as a whole allowing sports to contribute something to society.

 

But no, it's about money. MLB suspends Chapman and then fans either forget about it and cheer for his fastball or never forgive him and make him a social piranha. Neither one does anything to help Chapman and his family or to change the distressing narrative and patterns of domestic abuse.

 

It's really very sad.

Great post and concur with the direction you took with this topic. You're correct that it's a PR thing for all sports leagues. It's very easy for media members and fans to grandstand by saying "Aroldis Chapman should never pitch in the MLB again!" or "The MLB needs to crack down on all DV abusers. This can not be tolerated!" 

As you said, their employer is potentially taking their family's income away from them, and putting them in a tough position. That could make it less likely for victims to come forward if the abuser threatens that money will no longer be coming in, and they would be on their own. 

There's a lot of gray area with this issue, and I don't believe there's a singular way how to go about solving this. One place to start, like you mentioned, is using resources to create a counseling program to get the abusers and their family the help they need. 

    • HitInAPinch likes this

Diana Moskovitz of Deadspin wrote a fantastic article about this yesterday. Highly recommend reading her point of view on the subject of Zero Tolerance DV in sports. 

    • Seth Stohs, LimestoneBaggy, ThejacKmp and 1 other like this

I don't agree with this post on many levels.  Employers punish or terminate employees all the time for such crimes and it's not just because of PR pressure.  

 

However, MLB does appear to be the exception though and that is likely due to their obstinate Player's Union.  Similar to the long time resistance to drug testing, etc.  They are slow to deal with such issues because they feel they don't have to.

 

"We have a logical set of punishments for DUIs but don't for domestic abuse because it's not as black-and-white of a crime. If we send abusers to jail, their families often suffer right alongside them. Mom might have to enter a workforce she is not trained for and children suffer without a parent around. And even if Dad gets out of jail a changed man (doubtful since prison is about punishment, not rehabilitation), he's going to have a hard time finding a job with a blemish on his record. That's a big reason why charges are so rarely pursued - everyone involved has an incentive to keep the abuser out of jail because jail solves nothing and can often create larger or different problems. The system society has set up actively promotes women to stay with abusers because they can't afford not to."

 

I disagree with so many parts of this post.  Not only is this a miscaricaturization it's simply not true much of the time.  Domestic abuse is a crime clear as night and day.  There are plenty of laws on the books including assault charges of various degrees, domestic abuse charges,etc.  You can get a restraining order from ANY judge in Minnesota at the drop of a dime if you claim domestic abuse (especially if the perpetrator is male and the victim female).  

 

The #1 call that police dispatchers receive is domestic abuse calls. Some of the most commonly hear cases in court is typically domestic abuse or child abuse cases.  Unfortunately, shows such as Law & Order romanticize such crimes and create the impression that KNOW ONE presses charges because the abuser is the "bread winner,"  and that the victim feels they will be left helpless if they pursue.  This simply is not true much of the time. 

 

Most honest physiologists will also tell you that the relationship of abuser and victim is not always as simple as "black and white" or "right and wrong" as you put it.  Often times police receive dozens and dozens of repeat calls from the same address and sometimes repeatedly arrest the perpetrator only to have the victim not press charges.  The explanation is often times not a simple one like the "bread winner argument". More often then you think it's two people choosing to CONTINUE to engage / enable a tit for tat abusive relationship.  Keep in mind that this is no justification for abusive behavior but it is a common scenario that takes place.

 

Photo
KirbyDome89
Oct 25 2016 01:43 PM

 

That should be the case, but when you're 10 or 12 and you watch these guys on TV, it happens. Whether it's maturity or not... athletes become role models. It is an awesome responsibility. I should point out that a great majority of them take that responsibility seriously and generally do the right things. 

I totally agree, kids often fixate on athletes at a young age, and as they grow older they hopefully are able to form more meaningful relationships with individuals in their lives who can be considered role models. I was speaking more about the adults who never moved on from the hero worship of their childhood. I think a lot of the extreme reaction in either direction has everything to do with that. 

 

I think the role model card is often played as a way to justify calls for extreme punishment or put social pressure on organizations. Personally I can't stand that. I don't believe athletes need to act in accordance with what society or social media would deem acceptable role model behavior. As long as an individual is available to the team a fan really can ask no more. If players fail to do so then criticism is fair. However, I think the critiques should be directed at the individuals actions and the detriment caused to the team rather than his/her inability to live up to standards that are forced upon him/her outside of the work place. 

 

You're right, athletes are going to continue to be looked at as role models. I agree that its a good thing most of them seem to be decent people. 

    • TheBoofIsLoose likes this

 

Moreover, there is a strong relationship between contact sports and violence. Football players and wrestlers, as opposed to baseball, basketball, tennis, and other athletes, are significantly more likely than nonathletic males to be involved in a serious fight. Additionally, the direct effect of football is explained by the football participation of individuals' peers. Males whose friends play football are more likely to fight than other males, supporting perspectives that emphasize peer contexts as important mediators. Overall, findings are consistent with the expectations of social learning and masculinity arguments. The theoretical and policy implications of these results are discussed.

 

This is super interesting. Perhaps my question is without the scope of your study, but is there any way to tell whether it was participation in contact sports that increased violent tendencies, or whether people predisposed to violence gravitate toward contact sports? This seems like it could be a chicken and egg scenario, basically. I'd be really interested to hear what you have to say.

 

The issue for me is a bit different - I really resent the simplistic ways media and the Commissioners Offices handle these things. It's not being handled as a real issue, it's being treated like a PR problem.

 

A nice parallel example is DUIs. DUIs are bad and deserve punishment but if you're an accountant or work in a coffee shop, your employer doesn't suspend you because you got a DUI. They let the courts run their process and set punishments. Pro sports have taken to suspending or releasing guys with DUIs because they worry about driving off fans or giving newspaper columnists something to rail against. The concern has nothing (or little) to do with being upset about the idiocy of drunk driving or wanting to help a player out - they are focused on money and PR. If they really cared, they'd have programs set up to help players with DUIs get support to make better choices in the future.

 

This focus on the PR is an even bigger problem when it comes to domestic abuse because the issue is a lot harder to figure out. We have a logical set of punishments for DUIs but don't for domestic abuse because it's not as black-and-white of a crime. If we send abusers to jail, their families often suffer right alongside them. Mom might have to enter a workforce she is not trained for and children suffer without a parent around. And even if Dad gets out of jail a changed man (doubtful since prison is about punishment, not rehabilitation), he's going to have a hard time finding a job with a blemish on his record. That's a big reason why charges are so rarely pursued - everyone involved has an incentive to keep the abuser out of jail because jail solves nothing and can often create larger or different problems. The system society has set up actively promotes women to stay with abusers because they can't afford not to.

 

What's so frustrating is that pro sports has a chance (for once) to be on the forefront of highlighting solutions to a societal problem but regularly chooses not to. Their money-driven response is to suspend and release players, the equivalent of sending them to jail. It's good PR to suspend guys and seem like you're taking the issue seriously but in reality, it's about the same as ignoring the incidents. Pro sports does nothing to try to solve the actual problem. Baseball could help develop ways of providing real counseling, substance abuse training and relationship dynamics support to tackle the core issues of domestic abuse. They have the resources to provide free anger management and family counseling but instead just suspend a guy and garnish his wages. A logical plan could even help develop a nice treatment pattern to be applied to society as a whole allowing sports to contribute something to society.

 

But no, it's about money. MLB suspends Chapman and then fans either forget about it and cheer for his fastball or never forgive him and make him a social piranha. Neither one does anything to help Chapman and his family or to change the distressing narrative and patterns of domestic abuse.

 

It's really very sad.

I liked this post more for the first and last two paragraphs since I don't really agree with any of the rest.  I agree that pro sports tend to treat the issue with more of a PR approach rather than actually trying to do good.  If they were truly trying to do something for good, they'd be more proactive.  I think the leagues could do more with their public exposure to educate and deter these types of occurrences, not just with the players but also the fans that follow them.

 

I don't believe that this issue is always cut and dry.  There are grey areas.  Self defense can come into play, muddying the waters considerably.  DA's are the ones that decide whether to press charges, not victims, but if the victim is unwilling to cooperate there isn't always a way to realistically prosecute.  I don't understand that mentality, but I don't have to.  I know that it exists, for better or worse.

 

Unfortunately, I feel that the money does win out at the end of the day.  Whether it be the players unions or the league itself, the punishments don't always make sense or even matter in the grand scheme of things.  To often the player comes back and everything goes back to how it was.  Whether these guys should be considered role models or not, the public stature of these players puts them in the limelight.  What they do influences people.  I liked what the NFL did with the anti-domestic violence commercial last year or earlier this year, but have they done anything since?  They made their PR point and moved on until it happens again.  Rinse and repeat.  That's the shame of it.  

 

I would also like to thank Seth for this article.  Whether it be domestic violence or bullying or anything else where one becomes unnecessarily abusive towards another, they deserve the attention to stop them from occurring.  I'm not naive enough to believe that it'll ever go away completely, but it's certainly a worthy cause to do everything that can be done.  

    • Seth Stohs likes this

It is partly PR, of course.. but regardless of what MLB or the teams do, it'll be about PR. 

 

I counter my thoughts on how terrible this is with my belief that people deserve second chances in all facets of life. I'd like to see a harsh penalty for a first, but a means whereby a player can get back and get that chance. But a second situation should be a complete ban, and I'd be OK with that. 

 

Do the crime.... do the time... once the time is done, I think second chances are OK so long as there is some method in place to ensure contrition, and that there is a certain level of certainty that nothing will happen again. 

 

That's where writing up a specific punishment and path to return is important, but it could be very difficult. 

    • wsnydes likes this

 

This is super interesting. Perhaps my question is without the scope of your study, but is there any way to tell whether it was participation in contact sports that increased violent tendencies, or whether people predisposed to violence gravitate toward contact sports? This seems like it could be a chicken and egg scenario, basically. I'd be really interested to hear what you have to say.

Just to be clear, I am not the author of the study quoted.  The author information is found here.  http://asr.sagepub.c.../72/5/705.short

 

However, you raised an interesting question, some of which is discussed in the paper referenced and linked below:  The short answer is yes.  Among identical twins, those who played football are 37% more likely to self-report being involved in violence.  The following is copied from the 13th page (p798) of the referenced document.

 

"Findings Presented in Table 1 are the results from the logistic regression analysis where the violence indicator variable is used as the dependent variable and the other variables are used as covariates. Most important was the coefficient (i.e., the odds ratio) for the football participation variable. As shown in the table, the odds ratio was positive and statistically significant. The odds ratio revealed that respondents who were involved in football were 37% more likely to report being involved in violence than those who did not play football."

 

"Exploring the Relationship Between Violent Behavior and Participation in Football During Adolescence:  Findings From a Sample of Sibling Pairs:

Abstract:  http://yas.sagepub.c.../6/786.abstract

 

Full text download:  https://www.research...f_Sibling_Pairs

 

 

 

 

The issue for me is a bit different - I really resent the simplistic ways media and the Commissioners Offices handle these things. It's not being handled as a real issue, it's being treated like a PR problem.

 

I agree.  For sports franchises it is all about PR.  

 

Do we really want sports programs (pro, college, Olympics, etc.) to conduct extra-judicial processes that extend beyond taking performance enhancing drugs?  I think the long term effect of that would be bad.  (In both the Chapman and Brown cases, prosecutors declined to file charges and the judge dismissed charges against Ray Rice) From my perspective, the question is do we as a society have different sets of rules for "athletes" and other "important" people that contributes to domestic violence. Unfortunately, I think the answer is yes.  I think we as a society tend to overlook the bad behavior of young male athletes and this results in a lost opportunity to correct violent and other forms of undesirable behavior when people are young.  I don't really have any data to support this but it is just what I think.  I think also that there is a culture in some organizations (sports, military, businesses)  that condones this behavior.

 

CNN carried an article about how the outcome of the Brock Turner case is very common.  He served 3 months for the sexual assault of an unconscious person. http://www.cnn.com/2...letes-sentence/

 

Bill Cosby.  Women began reporting inappropriate behavior about 15 years ago.  In some cases with witnesses.  https://www.theguard...lic-accusations

 

Jerry Sandusky.  Penn State overlooks the bad behavior of an assistant football coach.  http://www.cbsnews.c...-state-scandal/

 

Note also that sexual assault incidences are also higher in the military:  http://www.washingto...s-as-numbers-f/

 

There was an article written about Gary Carter when he died.  What I remember about the article is how his team mates would make fun of him because he was faithful to his spouse and didn't go out drinking after the games.  This was in 1986.

http://www.northjers...field-1.1212257

 

 

    • Vanimal46 likes this

As with any profession, in baseball, and sports in general, you will find a range from criminals to saints.Of course they get a bit more exposed than most other professions, except maybe acting/TV.

 

On the domestic abuse subject, I am glad that baseball is doing something, but it is not enough.I'd love it if they suspend the player without pay (and instead of the clubs saving the $), to deposit that pay to an MLB domestic abuse charity that would:

 

a. pay to teach minor league kids (and some of them coming from places were machismo is the rule) about domestic abuse and what is expected from them as potential role models

b. Fund shelters for domestic abuse victims

c have a greater population educational program about domestic abuse.

 

same with NFL.

 

They should put their $ where their mouths are.Otherwise it is just going through the motions.

 

Also, they should be treating equally all criminals.Right now they pick and chose.Domestic abuse is a no no, drunk driving is fine, not sure what armed robbery is, and betting on baseball is a lifetime ban.They need a more consistent policy...

    • Carole Keller and TheLeviathan like this

It is partly PR, of course.. but regardless of what MLB or the teams do, it'll be about PR.

I counter my thoughts on how terrible this is with my belief that people deserve second chances in all facets of life. I'd like to see a harsh penalty for a first, but a means whereby a player can get back and get that chance. But a second situation should be a complete ban, and I'd be OK with that.

Do the crime.... do the time... once the time is done, I think second chances are OK so long as there is some method in place to ensure contrition, and that there is a certain level of certainty that nothing will happen again.

That's where writing up a specific punishment and path to return is important, but it could be very difficult.


Men who beat women so so because they view women as property.

For that reason I don't think they can be rehabilitated.
Sure, they may fake it, to stay out of trouble, but eventually when that instant of anger comes they are going to do it again.

This is all just my opinion of course.

 

I don't agree with this post on many levels.  Employers punish or terminate employees all the time for such crimes and it's not just because of PR pressure.  

 

However, MLB does appear to be the exception though and that is likely due to their obstinate Player's Union.  Similar to the long time resistance to drug testing, etc.  They are slow to deal with such issues because they feel they don't have to.

 

"We have a logical set of punishments for DUIs but don't for domestic abuse because it's not as black-and-white of a crime. If we send abusers to jail, their families often suffer right alongside them. Mom might have to enter a workforce she is not trained for and children suffer without a parent around. And even if Dad gets out of jail a changed man (doubtful since prison is about punishment, not rehabilitation), he's going to have a hard time finding a job with a blemish on his record. That's a big reason why charges are so rarely pursued - everyone involved has an incentive to keep the abuser out of jail because jail solves nothing and can often create larger or different problems. The system society has set up actively promotes women to stay with abusers because they can't afford not to."

 

I disagree with so many parts of this post.  Not only is this a miscaricaturization it's simply not true much of the time.  Domestic abuse is a crime clear as night and day.  There are plenty of laws on the books including assault charges of various degrees, domestic abuse charges,etc.  You can get a restraining order from ANY judge in Minnesota at the drop of a dime if you claim domestic abuse (especially if the perpetrator is male and the victim female).  

 

The #1 call that police dispatchers receive is domestic abuse calls. Some of the most commonly hear cases in court is typically domestic abuse or child abuse cases.  Unfortunately, shows such as Law & Order romanticize such crimes and create the impression that KNOW ONE presses charges because the abuser is the "bread winner,"  and that the victim feels they will be left helpless if they pursue.  This simply is not true much of the time. 

 

Most honest physiologists will also tell you that the relationship of abuser and victim is not always as simple as "black and white" or "right and wrong" as you put it.  Often times police receive dozens and dozens of repeat calls from the same address and sometimes repeatedly arrest the perpetrator only to have the victim not press charges.  The explanation is often times not a simple one like the "bread winner argument". More often then you think it's two people choosing to CONTINUE to engage / enable a tit for tat abusive relationship.  Keep in mind that this is no justification for abusive behavior but it is a common scenario that takes place.

 

I think you misunderstood what I mean by black and white. Or perhaps you didn’t read it – I suspect the latter is true since you’re indicating that I was talking about right and wrong in reference to abuser and victim. That’s nowhere near what I was saying. Let me try again.
----
DUIs are pretty straightforward crimes. A person drives with too much alcohol and is busted by the cops. There are field sobriety tests and physical evidence (blood or a breathalyzer number). Society has a clear and reasoned set of punishments – you drank and drove so you lose your license; you owe a fine and have to take a drunk driving education course; your insurance rates go up. There’s no need to convince the passenger in the car or the passenger in another car nearby to testify against the perpetrator. The crime itself is pretty straightforward, as are the punishments.

 

Domestic violence (DV) is a whole different story. There is evidence but the officer in charge of prosecuting didn’t gather that evidence and has to navigate often conflicting stories (see Solo, Hope) to try to guess the truth. The officer also needs to convince the victim to testify in court, often against his or her own self-interest. Families face financial hardships that often include eviction if the perpetrator of DV goes to jail. This isn’t to mention that they have to look a loved one in the eye months after the incident and send them to jail. That’s a much harder thing to do and it becomes even harder since unlike with DUIs, the punishments for DV don’t really provide much of a solution or rational punishment. Time in jail is unlikely to correct abusive behavior and punishes the victims of DV right alongside their victimizers.

 

For that reason, the NFL/MLB/NBA etc. tendency to punish crimes with big splashy suspensions is even more misguided for DV than it is for DUIs. It’s just another version of ignoring the basic issues behind it.
-----
Hopefully that clarified this a bit more. A few more things that struck me from your response:

 

1) Ummm, it’s not the players union stopping punishment, it’s the league only caring when it became a big deal in the papers that delayed punishment. In fact, the players unions basically rolled over in the PA and Ray Rice cases because of PR issues as well. If the union is against things, it’s because owners are taking player paychecks and the basic function of a union is to protect member ages. I can’t see any player’s union being opposed to real solutions like treatment and counseling/support.

 

2) Really disagree about the restraining orders. The point isn’t how easy it is to get a restraining order, it’s how easy is it to enforce that restraining order. Real heartless victimizers aren’t often deterred by a piece of paper. And that also ignores people who have children and need a partner to help with childcare, bills and other household duties. A restraining order doesn’t solve that problem.

 

3) I’m not sure where you got that police dispatchers #1 most common call is domestic violence. I found nothing stating that. Source? 

 

4) Similarly, not sure where you’re getting that the most common court cases are domestic abuse or that shows that indicate domestic abuse is rarely prosecuted are wrong. The stats I saw said 8 out of 10 never result in charges being filed, let alone successfully pursued.

 

5) Not disagreeing with you about the “it takes two to tango” aspect to some domestic abuse but (like you) I feel the need to strongly assert that verbal arguing and physical violence are two very different things. We should never diminish the horridness of slamming someone’s head of the wall by saying, “well but she was always fighting with him about things and was the one who started the argument.” Screaming and yelling isn’t health and productive but it also isn’t anything near physical violence. With that caveat noted, that cyclical thing is a real thing and is another reason that the blanket suspension/release is a terrible real-world solution. Intervention is needed, not blind mandated punishment.

 

Thoughts?

 

Men who beat women so so because they view women as property.

For that reason I don't think they can be rehabilitated.
Sure, they may fake it, to stay out of trouble, but eventually when that instant of anger comes they are going to do it again.

This is all just my opinion of course.

 

Um, this opinion is pretty limited. I'm nervous anytime anyone proposes a one-size-fits-all cause to anything. Men hit women for all kinds of issues - one time anger blowups, stress from work, depression, alcohol/drug addiction, inadequacy issues, etc. 

 

And to say that they can't be rehabilitated is crazy. I've known people who have rehabilitated anger issues through hard work and counseling - it's a similar process to drug/alcohol addiction, which we all know can be licked. For a rather dumb example, I knew kids who were heartless bullies growing up who later became the nicest people you've ever met,to the point that when you tell others who didn't know them when they were young that they were bullies, they don't believe you.

 

People can change, it's the only thing that makes getting up in the morning worth doing.

 

if the victim is unwilling to cooperate there isn't always a way to realistically prosecute.  I don't understand that mentality, but I don't have to.  I know that it exists, for better or worse.

 

Disagree. I think it is vitally important to understand that mentality. It's not trying to understand this mentality and the reasons behind it that led the NFL and MLB to their stupid harsh punitive suspension policy. If they cared to take the time to understand the people involved, they wouldn't suspend people at all. It hurts the victims as much or more than the victimizers and doesn't attempt to address the real issues at play in the relationship. We (and pro sports) need to try to understand the victim's reasons for not pressing charges if we're going to be able to provide real help.

 

I also think I might have worded things poorly. I don't think DV is black-and-white - my whole point is that the gray area with DV makes the NFL/MLB reaction simplistic and counterproductive. The DUI is stupid but applying that logic to DV is just asinine.

    • wsnydes likes this

Um, this opinion is pretty limited. I'm nervous anytime anyone proposes a one-size-fits-all cause to anything. Men hit women for all kinds of issues - one time anger blowups, stress from work, depression, alcohol/drug addiction, inadequacy issues, etc.

And to say that they can't be rehabilitated is crazy. I've known people who have rehabilitated anger issues through hard work and counseling - it's a similar process to drug/alcohol addiction, which we all know can be licked. For a rather dumb example, I knew kids who were heartless bullies growing up who later became the nicest people you've ever met,to the point that when you tell others who didn't know them when they were young that they were bullies, they don't believe you.

People can change, it's the only thing that makes getting up in the morning worth doing.


I disagree that it's an anger issue.
Everyone gets angry. Most people don't react by hitting a woman.

And rehabilitating children is much easier than adults. That is why the juvenile justice system is geared towards rehabilitation, while the adult system is geared towards punishment.

Like I said, this is just my opinion. I'm sure there are exceptions on the fringes. But by and large, I think to be a habitual abuser they must view women in general, or at least particularly, "their woman", as a piece of property, not an equal person.

 

Disagree. I think it is vitally important to understand that mentality. It's not trying to understand this mentality and the reasons behind it that led the NFL and MLB to their stupid harsh punitive suspension policy. If they cared to take the time to understand the people involved, they wouldn't suspend people at all. It hurts the victims as much or more than the victimizers and doesn't attempt to address the real issues at play in the relationship. We (and pro sports) need to try to understand the victim's reasons for not pressing charges if we're going to be able to provide real help.

 

I also think I might have worded things poorly. I don't think DV is black-and-white - my whole point is that the gray area with DV makes the NFL/MLB reaction simplistic and counterproductive. The DUI is stupid but applying that logic to DV is just asinine.

Perhaps I didn't choose my words carefully enough either.  I don't understand that mentality because I'm not in that position or situation.  I hope to never truly understand that mentality.  I agree that those smarter than I in the matter need to understand it in order to help those being abused AND those committing the abuse.  I note that I don't need to understand the mentality.  By that I mean that I acknowledge that it exists and I understand that it is something that people go through and that needs to be dealt with.  I also realize that in order for the DA to press charges, this is often a hurdle that must overcome in order to make a case.  If the DA can make a case without a cooperative victim, then it should be pursued regardless of what the victim wants.  Whether charges are pressed or not is not up to the victim, it's up to the DA.  It's the DA's responsibility to take dangers to the community off of the streets.

 

I disagree that it's an anger issue.
Everyone gets angry. Most people don't react by hitting a woman.

And rehabilitating children is much easier than adults. That is why the juvenile justice system is geared towards rehabilitation, while the adult system is geared towards punishment.

Like I said, this is just my opinion. I'm sure there are exceptions on the fringes. But by and large, I think to be a habitual abuser they must view women in general, or at least particularly, "their woman", as a piece of property, not an equal person.

I'd just like to add to your statement that it's not just about women.  Children are abused, men are abused, anyone can be abused for a variety of reasons - anger and the lack of being able to control it being one of them.  I know that the focus here is geared more towards women, but they're only part of the broader issue.

    • Craig Arko, HitInAPinch and Vanimal46 like this
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HitInAPinch
Oct 26 2016 07:10 AM

 

I'd just like to add to your statement that it's not just about women.  Children are abused, men are abused, anyone can be abused for a variety of reasons - anger and the lack of being able to control it being one of them.  I know that the focus here is geared more towards women, but they're only part of the broader issue.

I was just going to post something similar.I'm not an expert by any means, I just guided the creation of a 501c3 board that could support the cause.

 

#1What Police do in Domestic Violence situations is exactly the slogan you see on police cars:Serve and Protect.Number 1 job is to listen, make a determination of who the victim is and get them to a safe harbor.What is preached via lectures, media events, fundraiser, etc. is for those victims is to get to a safe place FIRST and call 911 from there.Are the Police always right?Not always.The thing is to get them separated and let the investigators make the determination. 

 

#2Yes, men are victims of Domestic Violence, too.I've witnessed it in a man, several times bigger than his wife, being attacked in public verbally and physically by his wife.Not being trained, I contacted the people at the Healing House.They were already aware, but couldn't interview until either the police were called or the victim asks for help.After a little more that 30 years of marriage, the man contacted the Healing House for assistance.They are now divorced and a restraining order in place.

 

    • wsnydes likes this

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