Grow: Examining MLB’s new domestic violence policy

From SABR member Nathaniel Grow at FanGraphs on August 24, 2015:

During the height of the furor over the National Football League’s mishandling of the Ray Rice case last fall, both Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association agreed to work together to formulate a new domestic violence policy for the league. On Friday, the two sides announced that they had finally reached an agreement on a new comprehensive policy covering not only incidents of domestic violence, but cases of sexual assault and child abuse as well.

In addition to establishing new player treatment and education protocols, the policy gives the Commissioner’s Office the authority to investigate any allegation of domestic violence, sexual assault, or child abuse involving a major-league player. Commissioner Manfred has also been given the power to place a player under investigation on paid Administrative Leave for up to seven days, a placement that the player can immediately appeal to panel of arbitrators.

Following the completion of MLB’s investigation, the new policy gives the commissioner the power to impose whatever punishment “he believes is appropriate in light of the severity of the conduct.” In other words, the agreement does not establish any minimum or maximum penalties for domestic violence, sexual assault, or child abuse cases. In fact, the policy explicitly states that a player does not even need to be criminally convicted of a crime in order to be punished by the commissioner. Once again, however, the player will have the right to appeal his punishment to a panel of arbitrators.

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Originally published: August 24, 2015. Last Updated: August 24, 2015.