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The Yankees need to do better in the face of domestic violence

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Listen to women

Cleveland Indians v New York Yankees Photo by Jason Szenes/Getty Images

I regret to inform you that the Yankees have done it again. As if this organization’s executives could not be any more unlikeable or out of touch with their fans, Hal Steinbrenner opened his mouth and made an ass of himself.

In case you missed it, Hal told USA Today, while at the quarterly MLB owners’ meeting, that we will all just forget about Aroldis Chapman’s domestic violence incident because he is a good player. The owner had nothing but good things to say about the closer.

"He was great. Look, he admitted he messed up. He paid the penalty. Sooner or later, we forget, right? That’s the way we’re supposed to be in life. He did everything right, and said everything right, when he was with us.’’

No, Hal, we don’t forget. When you commit domestic abuse, you don’t get the luxury of pretending it never happened. You don’t get to sweep it under the rug and put your own spin on it. You deserve to have that dark cloud follow you everywhere you go for the rest of your miserable days.

Let me be clear: domestic violence is not a mistake. Aroldis Chapman did not make a mistake. I don’t care that he wasn’t arrested, I don’t care that no charges were filed. An incident took place and Major League Baseball felt it was enough to warrant a suspension. He has never even shown himself to be apologetic through all of this.

There should be no excuse for these types of people doing these kinds of acts, and yet, as a society, we are all too eager to pretend that athletes, celebrities, musicians, and the rich are not capable of some of the most shameful acts imaginable. As long as they don’t affect us, or our lives, none of it really matters.

We need to do better. Sports need to do better. Men need to be better. Domestic violence affects our family, our friends, our neighbors, our girlfriends, our wives, our sisters, and our mothers. It affects the strangers we pass by on the street. If we don’t stand together with the women that we know—and the women that we don’t—then we stand against them.

But enough about what I think, and what I feel. Not only must we stand with women, but we must also listen to what they have to say. This is why I reached out for reactions to Hal’s comments, and whether it was an accidental slip of the tongue or not, women are not happy and they are not backing down, forgetting, or forgiving.

Some, like Carolyn Strum, are angry and appalled that the Yankees could take an issue like domestic violence so lightly. She unleashed her fury on the team earlier today.

What really hit the hardest was how she spoke about these comments disparaging female fans. “As a woman, how could I support a team that speaks so casually about violence against women?” I have no answer for her, because if the Yankees give domestic violence a free pass, they are saying that women are not welcome. If that’s the message they are giving off, then they are creating an uncomfortable and hostile environment for women.

Others, like Lisa, see this as evidence that the Yankees really are a soulless, loveless business with no regard for their fans.

While it is true to some extent, that people eventually forgive and forget, and as fine and impressive a player Chapman is....No, I think I'll always remember the domestic violence charge and how easily the Yankees traded four rookies for him back in 2015 purely because he was a bargain basement deal and, of course, because he's a good closer.

They absolutely looked the other way and really never made an appropriate statement about the situation. It was all very under the radar. I think it is especially because they have traded better players who are fine people, like Andrew Miller, that this one really hurt.

This isn't just steroids, this is physical abuse against a woman. I thought the Yankees were better than that. They've always been a bit heartless and have treated their players like pieces in a game to be traded but this was a next level low in my mind. Sadly they showed yet again that money is more important than ANYTHING else. Being a Yankee used to mean more.

Right now, we are living in one of the darkest times this country has ever faced. When things go bad, we look to sports and entertainment to distract us from the real world and give us a moment of escape. In the face of these comments, there is no longer an escape available to them and that’s not fair.

Pinstripe Alley’s own Miranda Kalish actually wants to challenge us on what it would take for women to actually be believed in this society, however, in the end, would it even matter to a team like the Yankees?

For something as personal and sensitive as domestic violence, how can someone be proven guilty? Does the woman have to have scars for others to believe her story? The scariest thing here is that I’m almost confident that the Yankees would have [done exactly the same thing,] even if there had been definitive proof, because an angry, violent man throwing baseballs over 100 mph sells tickets.

She goes on to discuss how Hal Steinbrenner and the Yankees not caring doesn’t mean that she has to stop caring. Sometimes things are more important than sports. Most things, actually.

I can’t normalize the violent actions of a man who put others in danger, no matter how good at baseball he is. Baseball is meaningless entertainment that I immensely enjoy, but I would rather the Yankees lose every game than have them win knowing that a man accused of domestic violence took the mound. I’ll still watch, and I’ll cheer for the team, but I won’t cheer for Chapman, even if his game-ending strikeout pitch is 400 mph.

When it comes to domestic violence, you never know who has been a victim. Statistics show that one in three women have experienced physical abuse at some point in their lifetime. That means you likely know someone who has been abused. It’s important to remember that. As Delia Enriquez of Bronx Baseball Daily and Birds Watcher states:

If anyone has been a victim of domestic violence, or any violence for that matter, you are never going to "forget" what happened. It subconsciously stays with you for the rest of your life. The fact Hal is basically justifying domestic violence because he wants us all to like Aroldis Chapman is sickening and disgusting. Do the Yankees not care about morals anymore or is everything about trying to make money, regardless of the situation?

Making light of a serious matter like domestic abuse hurts those who have been victims in their lifetime and does nothing to make them feel safe in the community they have taken an interest in. You never know what people have gone through and you risk alienating those around you, as @matszuucc shared.

Honestly. Im still kind of in shock about the comment he made. As someone who has gone through a lot in one of my previous relationships, I definitely looked to sports and the community that comes along with being a fan for support. Knowing that a team that I love could disregard the dangers of just ignoring people's behavior like this makes me really upset. I'm really still in shock.

It just goes to show with most New York teams that the money is worth so much more than having good morals. It just in a way makes me feel even more distant from the teams and the franchises because you get reminded that the people who say things like this only have getting paid on the mind.

I reached out to non-Yankees fans too, just to hear from someone who is not as personally involved in this team. Kate Morrison of Baseball Prospectus and FanRag Sports broke things down fairly logically. Despite being a Rangers fan, she was still disappointed as a sports fan and as a woman, even if the controversy wasn’t all that surprising.

I wish I were more surprised by remarks like that - in a way, he's just stating the truth of all of this. The "average" (as understood by MLB) baseball fan wants to forget, and wishes the rest of us would just shut up because the dude throws real hard. I can't forget, though. I also don't think that banning him from baseball is the right answer, either. There is no right answer right now, which is the difficult thing, but we could start with acknowledging on an ownership and GM level that the reason he's still in baseball is because he throws hard, but that he also allegedly did this terrible thing.

And here we have the truth. In the end, as a business, no one really cares, so long as they can make money. The fans remember, but maybe it’s time for ownership and front offices to take responsibility for the kind of behavior they allow to exist when they decide making money and being competitive is more important than any sense of doing what is right.

They say that the sports world is a reflection of the real world. If that’s true, guys, then we need to look at ourselves in the mirror and make some real changes for the sake of the women around us. This isn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last, that an affluent man says something entirely too insensitive, done deaf, and problematic about the treatment of women.

We all need to do better. Only then can we hope to avoid the next Aroldis Chapman from committing unforgivable acts of violence. Only then can we avoid the next Hal Steinbrenner from uttering harmful platitudes. The first step is to never forget.