Yankees, MLB Karaoke ‘Kumbaya’ Amid Domestic-Violence Crisis

Jim Rocco 01.09.20


We may never know exactly what happened during the alleged domestic-violence incident between New York Yankees pitcher Domingo Germán and his girlfriend, but there’s little doubt the details are well-known to both the team and Major League Baseball. Maybe because of that, all sides responded to the crisis with similar reserve.

Following a charity gala on the evening of Sept. 16, 2019, the 27-year-old Germán was reported to have slapped his girlfriend during an altercation. It was believed at the time that a member of Major League Baseball’s commissioner’s office may have witnessed the incident. No charges were ever brought against Germán, nor was there even a police report filed, leaving fans and all other interested parties to speculate what may have transpired.

Despite the lack of public clarity, on Sept. 19, Germán was placed on administrative leave, presumably until more information could be gathered. Then, less than a week later, MLB and the Players Association agreed to extend his leave through the end of the season, which accounted for 9 games, as well as the postseason, which ultimately amounted to 9 more games.

Anyone who follows the all-too-common trials and tribulations of professional athletes would have deduced that, despite a lack of hard evidence presented publicly, the powers that be must have known pretty quickly the situation did not bode well for Germán. This theory was bolstered by the fact that Germán himself, MLB, the players union, and the Yankees all seemed to be on the same page (for a change), as the administrative leave was never challenged.

Domestic violence — in any form — is a gravely serious matter that affects every segment of our society.

— New York Yankees

The only open question was how much longer into the 2020 season Germán would be suspended. On Jan. 2, MLB announced the full suspension would consist of 63 more games. Coupled with the 18 games already served, that came to 81, exactly half a full season. It’s the longest domestic-violence suspension ever given without criminal charges being brought against the player. It’s believed that neither the players’ union nor Germán himself will challenge the ruling.

Public Messages

The public messages underscored the unanimity. The statement issued by the Yankees was both straightforward and well written, as were the comments by the commissioner’s office. (Neither the pitcher nor his union appear to have released statements.)

MLB simply laid out what the discipline was and noted that Germán agreed not to appeal.

“We remain steadfast in our support of Major League Baseball’s investigative process and the disciplinary action taken regarding Domingo Germán,” the Yankees wrote. “Domestic violence — in any form — is a gravely serious matter that affects every segment of our society.” It noted Germán’s “acceptance of his discipline.”

One should give the benefit of the doubt that these statements were genuine. However, when you dig deeper, it’s pretty easy to find other, less-sincere reasons this played out the way it did.

First, despite having no public information that speaks to what happened that night, it’s probably safe to assume the incident may have been recorded or, as mentioned earlier, someone reputable may have witnessed it. Perhaps Germán simply owned up to it. Whatever the case, keeping the details of the incident out of the public eye saved everyone a tremendous amount of embarrassment.

Under Wraps

While what is truly known may never be revealed to the public, what seems certain is this: When the player, his union, the team, and the league are all in lockstep on an issue like this, it’s because it’s in ALL of their best interests to keep it under wraps.

It seems now that the excessive amount of time it took for the commissioner’s office to issue this ruling had nothing to do with the gathering of additional facts, and everything to do with the negotiation of the maximum amount of games Germán could be suspended without push back from Germán himself, the Players Association, and the Yankees. If this weren’t the case, then history tells us that, at the very least, the Players Association would have challenged the fourth-longest domestic-violence suspension in MLB history.

So, kudos to the baseball community for working together and presenting a unified front, but in reality it was probably just in everyone’s best interest to stick together on this particular issue.

Photo Credit: Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock

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