The New York Yankees are about to break camp and have their first game of the new baseball season against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. The team will allow some fans to attend, which was not the case last year. It’s an exciting time for both fans and players, including Domingo German, who made the Yankees’ starting rotation and will pitch against Toronto in the third of the three-game set.
German had a solid year in 2019 when he went 18-4 with a 4.03 ERA. However, he then received a lengthy domestic violence suspension. Now, he’s back with the team, and he says that he has learned his lesson. But should the Yankee fan base forgive him for his behavior?
When Private Behavior Becomes Public
Most people feel like what happens in someone’s household is their own business, and that includes athletes. There’s no reason why someone’s family should not enjoy their privacy.
There are times, though, that an athlete’s private, at-home behavior makes it into the public eye. For instance, if someone hires a child custody lawyer, the fans will know that their domestic situation isn’t going so well. If a police report where a spouse alleges battery becomes public, that’s going to get the team and the league’s attention as well.
The Yankees are one team that has had a real issue with this lately. Aside from German’s behavior, there was the incident with closer Aroldis Chapman a few years ago. Chapman’s girlfriend alleged that during an argument, Chapman went into their garage and discharged a firearm several times. She was terrified, and rightly so.
How Far Should Forgiveness Go?
Athletes are human. They’re just like everyone else, except that they have a job that thrusts them into the spotlight.
In German and Chapman’s cases, each has promised to do better controlling their tempers. They both went through the suspension process that the league dictated.
The Yankees have also retained their services, which isn’t all that surprising. German will probably be a valuable starting rotation piece this year, and Chapman is once again the presumptive Yankee closer.
The league and the team seem willing to forgive, but should the fans? Presumably, that will be a personal choice that each individual has to make. It’s not likely that too many longtime fans will decide to boycott the team because of two troublemaking individuals remaining part of the staff.
The Message this Sends
On the other hand, there have to be more than a few domestic assault survivors who feel like the suspensions these men endured amount to little more than a slap on the wrist. They might think about their own experiences and wish that, at the very least, these two men had lost their jobs, or even that they face jail time.
Whether the Yankees and the league like it or not, allowing these men to remain a part of a storied franchise, not to mention Major League Baseball in general, is going to alienate fans and cause some domestic violence survivors pain. It sends the message that society frowns on this sort of behavior, but it doesn’t have any real consequences. Yes, MLB suspended both men, but they’ll still make millions of dollars this year.
It’s not easy to figure out quite what to do about athletes who misbehave. There are plenty of other examples in the news right now. Look at Deshaun Watson, the Texans’ starting quarterback. He currently faces multiple sexual assault allegations.
Ultimately, it’s up to this country’s major sports leagues to lay down the law when something like these incidents occurs. At the moment, many leagues and teams do think they should forgive one of these occurrences, and after some time off, the athlete should be able to resume their career.
Some fans are going to agree with that, and some will not, but a vocal contingent does seem to feel at this point that with these shameful displays, one time should be one time too many. Really cracking down and getting rid of a player who acts this way would send a strong message that the rest of the league would have no choice but to notice.
As it stands, the Yankees decided to bring back both Chapman and German because they can help the team win. There can be no denying their motivation. If that upsets some domestic assault survivors, the franchise is perfectly willing to put winning another World Series above that.