MLB ‘sending message’ with 30-game Chapman suspension, ESPN reporter says

Yankees relieverAroldis Chapman was the onegivena 30-game suspension Tuesdayby Major League Baseball for adomestic violence incident with his former girlfriend, but commi sioner Rob Manfred’s real target was the rest of the industry’s players, managers and front-office personnel, ESPN baseball reporter Pedro Gomez says.MLB wanted”to send a me sage to everyone in Nick Castellanos Jersey every clubhouse” that domestic violence is verboten, Gomez told Sporting News in a telephone interview.MORE: Scenes from spring training”They wanted to be sure they got the attention of everyone: players, coaches, managers, everybody, that this type of behavior is just not going to be tolerated. I think that probably is the biggest reason behind 30 games. I think every player right now is probably saying, ‘Did you hear what Chapman got?’”Manfred is a new commi sioner relative to long-servingcontemporariessuch as Roger Goodell of the NFL, Gary Bettman of the NHL and Don Garber of Major League Soccer, but he isn’t operating in a vacuum.He saw,along with everybody else, how the NFL struggled torecoverfrom the Ray Rice domestic violence scandal, and how his predece sor, Bud Selig, always seemed to be a daylate and a dollar short on the never-ending steroids revelations.MORE: Yankees’ age may finally catch up with themManfred was smart to put a stake in the groundright now and come down hard on Chapman, according to Cliff Floyd, the former major league slugger who now is a host onSiriusXM/MLB Network Radio.I think you have to make this statement if you are Major League Baseball.You have to show these guys that you are not playing around,” Floyd said in a statement to SN.”This is sort of like the steroidsthing.You know, we’re not going to get down the road of getting to the point where you have one strike, two strikes.Forget that.Let’s go all in. Let’s show these guys that it’s not going to be tolerated. Youhave to make a statement like this.On the other hand, there’s anargument to be madethat 30 games is too muchfor Chapman and the Yankees, who are depending on the relieverto helpform a shutdown bullpen with Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller.Chapman was accused of pushing and choking his girlfriend attheir home Oct. 30, then firing eight gunshots. No criminal charges were filed, unlike many other domestic violence cases involving athletes.But under MLB’s new domestic violence policy, Manfred can dish out any punishment he wants, regardle s of whether a player ischarged.Gomez believes Manfred i sued his rulingwith one eye on Chapmanand the other on pending cases involving Jose Reyes and Yasiel Puig.The MLB Players A sociation thought it was a”no-win PR situation” to defend a player accused ofboth domestic violence and illegal use of firearms, Gomez said. That’s also one reason why Chapmanand the Yankees didn’t appeal.”Particularly that there were no charges filed, this lets you know how baseball plans to go forward when it comes to domestic violence,” Gomezsaid. “They don’t need police charges to be filedin order for them to act. I think the fact that a firearm was used was part of the reason.”Manfred has already shown he’s willing to act quicker and more boldly than Selig.Gomez added that in the wake of the Rice case, Manfred is sending a sternme sage to his own players:”Think before you act.”Michael McCarthy is an award-winning sports journalist and contributor to Sporting News. McCarthy’s work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal,, Newsday, USA TODAY and Adweek.

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