Monday January 25th, 2016

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred discussed the league’s domestic violence policy in an interview with Yahoo! Sports on the one-year anniversary of his inauguration as commissioner.

The policy, which was was introduced in August, leaves potential punishments up to the discretion of Manfred regardless of whether criminal action has been taken against the offending player.

“When the domestic-violence issue moved to the forefront, we did a really careful review of how people handled domestic-violence problems in a variety of industries,” Manfred said when asked if the NFL’s handling of the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson cases shaped the development of MLB’s policy.

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Manfred went on to say that the league decided a collectively bargained policy was the best option.

“Only through collective bargaining can you have a complete approach to the issue—education, counseling, discipline. If you don’t have the representative of the employees on board, you’re not going to get that complete, well-rounded approach,” Manfred said. He also added that collective bargaining is more accepted among players because they feel it provides them certain safeguards. 

Manfred said that MLB also looked at the issue outside of sports when developing the policy.

“With respect to the leagues, there are lessons in dealing with unions and athletes, and when you look outside, the range of expertise in terms of the problem itself, with counseling and education and how you handle these issues, is probably a little more in-depth and developed because it’s a bigger area,” Manfred said.

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Manfred also discussed the broad nature of the policy, noting that the “wide variations” in domestic violence cases prevent the league from taking a “formulaic approach” to punishment.

The policy is currently being put to the test in the case of Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman. According to a police report, Chapman was accused of choking his girlfriend, pushing her against the wall and firing eight gunshots in his garage during an argument at his Florida home.

Last week, the Orlando Sun-Sentinel reported that Chapman will not face charges in the domestic dispute, but he is currently under investigation by the league and could still face punishment.

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