Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred announced on Tuesday afternoon that New York Yankees relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman has been suspended 30 games without pay and without appeal for violating the league’s domestic abuse policy.
Chapman, who was reportedly involved in a domestic violence incident with his 22-year-old girlfriend back in October, was never charged with any sort of crime. The official police report obtained by ESPN states that Chapman allegedly choked his girlfriend, Cristina Barnea after she “found something on his phone that she did not like.” Family members reportedly had to break up the altercation and Chapman later admitted that he and his girlfriend did physically contact one another. Chapman also stated to police that he cut his finger after the altercation when he punched the window of a car due to frustration and admitted to firing off eight rounds from a handgun in his garage during the incident.
The Davie County Sherriff’s Department (FL) decided not to charge Chapman with a crime due to conflicting stories and witnesses failing to cooperate as well as a lack of sufficient evidence.
Even though Chapman was not charged with a crime, under the MLB’s new policy against domestic violence he is still held accountable for his actions. Chapman has even acknowledged that he should have controlled his emotions better during the incident as he released this statement on Tuesday regarding his suspension:
“I want to be clear, I did not in any way harm my girlfriend that evening. However, I should have exercised better judgment with respect to certain actions, and for that I am sorry,” Chapman said in a statement. “The decision to accept a suspension, as opposed to appealing one, was made after careful consideration. I made this decision in an effort to minimize the distractions that an appeal would cause the Yankees, my new teammates and most importantly, my family. I have learned from this matter, and I look forward to being part of the Yankees’ quest for a 28th World Series title. Out of respect for my teammates and my family, I will have no further comment.”
The Yankees find themselves in a very unfamiliar and uncomfortable position. What they thought was going to be an acquisition that would pan out to be the key piece to their bullpen has now turned into an off-field circus full of questions, allegations, and bad publicity. The Yankees have had their run-ins with bad publicity in the past (most notably A-Rod’s steroid scandal), but this situation with Aroldis Chapman is something that the Yankees and almost every other MLB team have never dealt with.
Last week, Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes was put on paid leave until his domestic violence case in Hawai’i is resolved. Chapman and Reyes become the first two players to be disciplined under baseball’s new domestic violence/abuse policy.
*^^^* Note: 30 games for Chapman, not 40.