Earlier this fall, Met’s closer Jeurys Familia found himself embroiled in scandal when he was charged with domestic violence. This was exasperated by the fact that he had been recently featured in an anti-domestic abuse campaign advertisement. In the video, Familia says that he is not a fan of domestic violence and is featured alongside other athletes that are both male and female. Since the scandal broke, the advertisement has been pulled from the campaign.
The Mets responded by saying that they were investigating the incident. Major League Baseball has recently implemented strict domestic violence suspension policies that require fines and a loss in salary. In May, the Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes was suspended fifty-two games, forced to give $100,000 to charity and repay $7 million of his salary that he had already received this season. This was despite the fact that Reyes had only been indicted for domestic violence and not actually convicted.
Not many details have yet been released about Familia’s case, but it seems to be less severe than the charges against Reyes. Reyes allegedly caused injuries to his wife’s neck, thigh and wrist by slamming her against a glass door. The complaint in Familia’s case does not identify the victim, but it is presumably either his wife or his infant child. It also says the visible injuries observed by the police were a scratch on the victim’s chest and a bruise on the victim’s cheek. While Familia has a wife and young child, it does not identify how either would have received the injuries.
It is expected that more details will be released in the months following his arrest, both from the MLB as well as the court proceedings. Since the MLB does not need to wait until conviction, it is possible that Familia will face a penalty from the MLB on the basis of charges alone. This is controversial because supporters may argue that Familia is innocent until proven guilty. While this is true in a court of law, Major League Baseball is no such thing. In order to play, athletes will be required to agree to the policies of the Major League so that they cannot seek legal recourse.
While much media attention is usually given to domestic violence in the NFL, some studies suggest that it is more rampant among baseball players in the Major League. Instead of comparing sports, it is important to consider the qualities that make athletes more susceptible to domestic violence charges in order to prevent them.