The Chicago Cubs just acquired one of the best closing pitchers in professional baseball. But some fans aren’t excited about the man they’re getting in the trade.
Aroldis Chapman, who was traded from the New York Yankees, was suspended for the first 30 games of this season for violating the league’s domestic-violence policy. In December, he allegedly pushed his girlfriend against a wall and choked her. He also fired his gun eight times in his garage during the argument, according to a police report of the incident.
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts acknowledged Chapman’s suspension when Ricketts announced the trade Monday. But he quickly tried to ease concern, saying Chapman “takes responsibility for his actions.” He said:
I shared with him the high expectations we set for our players and staff both on and off the field. Aroldis indicated he is comfortable with meeting those expectations.
Chapman acknowledged his history in a statement Monday:
I regret that I did not exercise better judgment and for that I am truly sorry. Looking back, I feel I have learned from this matter and have grown as a person. My girlfriend and I have worked hard to strengthen our relationship, to raise our daughter together, and would appreciate the opportunity to move forward without revisiting an event we consider part of our past.
Major League Baseball policy does not specify the number of games a player is suspended from if they commit an act of sexual or domestic violence. Players usually return after their suspensions, just as Chapman did. Professional athletes at times are punished through the league, and sometimes law enforcement. But after they serve their punishment, they’re back to being handsomely paid athletes competing for teams that fans invest a great deal of emotional and financial support. They return to receiving praise for their talent. Chapman, for instance, allegedly choked his girlfriend but he can also pitch 105 miles per hour.