Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes was arrested in Maui on October 31st for choking his wife and slamming her into a sliding glass door, according to a Hawaiian newspaper. That makes the 13-year Major League veteran the latest member of a ignominious club: professional athletes who've allegedly abused the women in their lives.
It's a club whose ranks have swelled over the past year, with at least eight men and two women gaining entry in 2015 alone. Among them are former Kansas City Chief Justin Cox, former Chicago Bear Ray McDonald, former Detroit Lion Rodney Austin, San Francisco 49er Bruce Miller, Washington Redskin Junior Galette, former Dallas Cowboy Joseph Randle, NBA free agent Greg Oden, the Tulsa Shock's Glory Johnson, the Phoenix Mercury's Brittney Griner and LA King Slava Voynov.
This rogues gallery doesn't include a slew of college players and former athletes who've caught charges this year or well-known scumbags like Greg Hardy and Floyd Mayweather, who haven't been arrested for hitting a woman in 2015 — yet. We should also note here that despite these high profile cases of domestic assault, the arrest rate for pro athletes is actually much lower than it is for the average American. The problem is that athletes are rich and famous (and often considered role models for young sports fans), so when they break laws, it's big news.
Reyes' arrest is particularly big news because it's the first time a Major Leaguer has been accused of domestic abuse since the league enacted its new policy to handle such cases. In August, MLB and the player's association agreed to a policy that will allow the league's commissioner, Rob Manfred, to suspend players for "just cause" when they're accused of domestic violence. The suspensions do not hinge on convictions and can occur while legal proceedings play out. There are also no prescribed suspension lengths. Instead, each case is to be judged on its own with the commissioner handing out a ban for however long he sees fit.
The policy puts a lot of power in Manfred's hands and he's just been given his first opportunity to exercise it. This is a big moment for Major League Baseball, both to distinguish itself from the comically inept NFL and to prove that not all sports leagues have a callous disregard for abusive athletes. Fortunately for Manfred, baseball's offseason just started, so he's got a long time to make sure he gets this one right.
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