Athletes, domestic violence, contrition and the overwhelming lack thereof

ChapNew York Yankees pitcher Aroldis Chapman was just suspended thirty games by Major League Baseball for a domestic violence dispute in which he allegedly assaulted his girlfriend.  Johnny Manziel is currently under investigation for similar acts.  Ray Rice last carried a football for the Baltimore Ravens in 2013, not because he was no longer qualified or capable of doing so but because he was caught on film knocking his girlfriend unconscious.

There have been countless other sad, pathetic and disturbing incidents of men striking women inside and out of the world of sports.  Some have been high profile; many have flown under the radar.

Professional sports leagues have taken a harder stance against such behavior, as they should.  They can no longer afford to be seen as soft on this sort of heinous and inexcusable behavior.  After all, women buy jerseys too.  Athletes who involve themselves in these crimes lose an entire fan base at best, their freedom, as it should be, at worse, potentially losing millions of dollars and the opportunity to further their craft.  It’s a small price to pay for being a dipshit.

One would think it is common knowledge, even among the most uneducated and underprivileged of souls, that domestic violence is cowardly, illegal and immoral.

So I guess my question is… why is this still happening?  Why does the high-profile athlete with millions of dollars in the bank and everything to live for continue to beat his wife?

HardyI understand that some athletes have grown up in less fortunate circumstances.   I get that people have known struggles, sadness and sorrow that we’ll never understand but I don’t see how that can ever be an excuse for putting your hands on a woman in a violent manner.  Greg Hardy is 6-foot-4, 278 pounds.  That’s an unfair matchup against anyone, never mind a woman half his size.  What does he have to prove by beating his girlfriend that he couldn’t evoke in a far more peaceful or diplomatic fashion?  The Dallas Cowboys gave him a chance to play last season based on his talent.  Understandably they took a fair amount of heat when other teams wouldn’t touch the guy.  It turned out to be the wrong decision.  They have yet to re-sign him for 2016.  I say fair punishment for his crimes would be putting him in the octagon with Ronda Rousey.

With all that being said, a perhaps more difficult question is when we forgive… or do we?  What happens when an athletes realizes the wrongs they’ve done and show genuine contrition?  When do we find it in our hearts to forgive?  Greg Hardy is a bad example.  So is Aroldis Chapman.  These two are scumbags of the highest order.  For example, Chapman has apologized for using a gun during the incident but not for attacking his girlfriend.  Chapman has not appealed baseball’s decision to suspend him.  That’s not contrition.  That’s idiocy worthy of another suspension in and of itself.

Chapman, class act, will lose two million out of his twelve million dollar salary for 2016, meaning he’ll still get paid ten million on the season.  As one faithful SportsChump reader sarcastically quipped “That’ll teach him.”

Money signThink Manziel’s contrite?  He was just spotted in a Miami strip club “making it rain” while he’s currently under investigation by the Texas police.  Personally, I’d like to buy the rookie card of the first inmate who prison rapes Johnny Football.  That’d be your season’s MVP.

Perhaps there is some light at the end of this tunnel.  When we last saw Ray Rice, he was coaching football to a bunch of draft-eligible players.  Now, you may ask yourself, who the hell thought Ray Rice teaching a bunch of college kids was a good idea?  Maybe the person who saw fit to give Rice a second chance did the right thing.   Maybe he finally realizes the consequences of his actions and can turn them into a positive, serving as a role model on how not to treat members of the opposite sex.  Maybe he’s making the most of that opportunity.  I’m not saying he is.  I’m saying if a guy like Rice can serve as an example, expressing how he made a horrible mistake that cost him his career (but ironically not his relationship – he’s now married to the woman he knocked unconscious) then maybe he can serve a purpose after all.

I don’t mean to single out athletes here.  Domestic violence occurs in all walks of life.  Far too often it goes unreported and unpunished.  But this is primarily a sports blog and when athletes do the vilest things, we tend to discuss them, hopefully in a constructive manner.

It’s probably naïve to think that in this day and age where the ridiculously overpaid athlete thinks he can get away with murder (and sometimes does #OJ) that beating one’s wife, girlfriend or partner will eventually stop happening… that the day will come when we all just “get along.”

I commend professional sports leagues for their increasing lack of tolerance but there is still a long way to go.  Penalties can be harsher.  I would also make public service hours mandatory before any return to the field can be honored.

Despite one’s talent, playing professional sports should be a privilege, not a right.  The sooner owners, players, leagues and fans take a stand demonstrating what sorts of behavior they will not tolerate the sooner we can get to living in a world where these types of incidents no longer occur.

10 thoughts on “Athletes, domestic violence, contrition and the overwhelming lack thereof

  1. It’s no longer worth holding these @s$hole athletes to any sort of standard, in spite of idiots showing their ignorance with statements , saying they (athletes) are still young and lack maturity. What the athletes actually lack, is common decency, intelligence and yet the moronic members of the press, will continue to give them a pass , as well many of the idiotic fans out there with their asinine comments .

    Aroldis Chapman is a goddamn @sshole as too is Mets’ pitcher Jennry Mejia . What might be even worse concerning Mejia with his having broken the league’s mandatory drug testing protocols for a third time triggering a life-time ban The MLB hierarchy under their rules can reinstate the player after two years if he shows good behavior. Who the ##ck actually takes Bud Selig , let alone Bud Selig seriously much less the league hierarchy as they remain so damn inconsistent with regard to their rulings ?

    So Goodell and the NFL are once again seeking an appeal of the Tom Brady ruling , but the three judges haven’t the common sense to question the league as to the reasons why their Chief Legal Counsel Jeff Pash refused to testify on the NFL’s behalf in the first hearing . Questions need to be asked of the NFL even with the alleged evidence they were said to have in their possession of which a great deal was circumstantial . Other than the Brady destruction of his cell-phone , what was it Goodell was said to have which was said to be concrete evidence ?

  2. “… why is this still happening? Why does the high-profile athlete with millions of dollars in the bank and everything to live for continue to beat his wife?”

    I can answer those questions with two letters- O.J. O.J. killed his wife and an innocent bystander and got away with it. While today’s athletes no longer have Johnnie Cochran and Robert Kardashian to defend them, those athletes still have enough money to pay for the top-notch defense attorneys. Add to that the possibility of a star-struck jury, and what the hell? If O.J. can get away with double homicide, my getting away with domestic abuse should be a cake walk. At least the sports leagues have finally come to the realization that someone has to hold the players accountable for their actions.

  3. “Playing professional sports should be a privilege, not a right.”

    Driving a two-ton automobile is a privilege, too; but most people view it as a right. We forget, some of us, that in the wrong hands an automobile can be a lethal weapon.

    Many of these athletes complain that their celebrity makes them a target. On the other hand, their celebrity at times gives them special privilege. Case in point: had I been accused of the same “horseplay” of which Peyton Manning was accused at the University of Tennessee, I would’ve been fired and had to register as a sex offender. But these players seem to think they’re entitled, and the NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB, have, in the past, turned a nescient head because these players are considered valuable commodities. It’s good that they are finally taking a stand against violence committed against women.

    Spousal abuse is rampant in this country, in and out of sports. It’s been put forth that the violence in the NFL—similar to the PTSD our veterans endure (my dad, a veteran of WWII occasionally woke up from nightmares of his service on Okinawa with his hands wrapped around my mother’s neck)—results in such behavior. That said, it should not be an excuse to abuse a woman.

    The NFL should offer counseling to their players to avoid such behavior.

    You’re right, Chris, in that no player should be allowed back onto the field without first showing contrition.

  4. Punish the athletes that hit others…Males, female or otherwise…
    But let’s also not forget…

    …Sometimes those others earn it.

  5. I don’t want to bring this up, Al, but I think it bears noting.

    It was the Cowboys who signed Hardy and the Yankees who signed Chapman, two of the preeminent franchises in professional sports.

    I think only when the big boys say they will no longer stand for such behavior that athletes will stop acting they run the place.

  6. That holds true tho, Beag, in any walk of life, not just sports.

    If you have money, you’re getting off.

    Ah, the joys of our judicial system.

    Nothing like fair play, right?

  7. Guest…

    I can’t imagine that the league, whichever league that might be, i.e., MLB, NBA, NFL, doesn’t coach its players on how to act, what to do and what not to do. When it boils down to it, how much common sense does it take to treat your fellow man with decency and not walk around smacking everyone you see?

    If we didn’t love sport so much, we’d turn the shit off.

    For example, after Mel Gibson’s rants, his career was finished. Same with Michael Richards. So there are things stars can do to sink them. Personally, I’m amazed Chris Brown is still as popular as he is after treating Rihanna like his own personal punching bag.

    It’s unfortunate that teams like the Cowboys will sign guys like Hardy based on their particular skill set while overlooking the obvious.

  8. Bleed…

    There was video evidence of Ray Rice’s now wife spitting on him twice before he cold cocks her, not that that justifies his behavior.

    I guess the old rule of don’t start no shit and there won’t be no shit still applies.

  9. Chris

    It’s not just the big boys of the sports’ world , but look at the ambivalence of the hierarchies involved who preside of the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL . Explain to me, their lax attitude, their respective unions involved and why they tend to remain reactive rather than proactive , concerning these issues. We have idiots dumb enough who believe there is no sexist behavior by male athletes in professional sports , homophobia and racism doesn’t exist at all ? So again, let me pose the question what the hell have Roger Goodell , Bud Selig , Selig’s successor Rob Manfred , David Stern , his successor , Adam Silver and Gary Bettman (NHL) , been doing to address these issues over the last decade or more ? Perhaps, when there is an answer to that pertinent question , rather than the naive bull#hit , the press tends to come up with and the sheer stupidity of some fans. Then, there can be a real meaningful dialog in place concerning these social ills which now plague collegiate as well as professional sports.

    Off topic , but are the judges now hearing the NFL appeal concerning Tom Brady really intelligent enough to be presiding over the case ? To my mind , the most telling issue , will remain the question, as to why the NFL’s Chief Legal Counsel , Jeff Pash refused to testify on the league’s behalf in the original mediation case lodged , when Brady won the right to have his appeal overturned. Roger Goodell, has come up with this new synopsis , latitude granted to him by the NFLPA (union) as part of the collective bargaining agreement gives him the right to mete out any punishment deemed fit , based on his own adjudication even when the evidence gathered is not substantive . Is there anyone not prepared to question this at all ? The NFL has no ” real checks or balances ” and the league hierarchy (NFL), simply makes up the rules as they see fit .

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