The bombshell we've all been waiting for has finally dropped as Major League Baseball will formally suspend Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman for a total of 30 games under the new domestic violence policy. The 30-game ban will begin on Opening Day and will not include spring training games, meaning you will still see him in games this month. He won't be eligible to make his regular season debut until May 9th when the Yankees host the Kansas City Royals.
BREAKING: Aroldis Chapman suspended 30 games by MLB under domestic violence policy, source. No appeal. Story posting momentarily @nytsports— Billy Witz (@billywitz) March 1, 2016
Curiously, it appears that Chapman will not be appealing the decision. It's said that he cooperated during MLB's investigation, which could have helped knock 10-15 games off his suspension (which would have pushed the ban to 45 games, and made him arbitration eligible again in 2017). As part of his suspension, Chapman will lose $1.7 million in salary and, according to Billy Witz, "will be subject to meeting with treatment board, which can require counseling, forfeiture of guns, weapons."
Here is Chapman's statement on the suspension:
"Today, I accepted a 30 game suspension from Major League Baseball resulting from my actions on October 30, 2015. I want to be clear, I did not in any way harm my girlfriend that evening. However, I should have exercised better judgment with respect to certain actions, and for that I am sorry. The decision to accept a suspension, as opposed to appealing one, was made after careful consideration. I made this decision in an effort to minimize the distractions that an appeal would cause the Yankees, my new teammates and most importantly, my family. I have learned from this matter, and I look forward to being part of the Yankees' quest for a 28th World Series title. Out of respect for my teammates and my family, I will have no further comment."
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred also had much to say on the matter:
manfred's statement on chapman suspension pic.twitter.com/ETxZSNXepD— Erik Malinowski (@erikmal) March 1, 2016
This is Major League Baseball's first punishment handed out under their new domestic violence policy, so it's hard to get a sense of what is fair and what isn't fair. We should be seeing verdicts on the Jose Reyes and Yasiel Puig cases any time now, and then we will be able to see how the punishments stack up. This is an important first step in the prevention of domestic abuse and punishing those who commit abuse.
While Chapman was never arrested and no formal charges were ever brought against him, MLB's policy was always meant to work independent of the law. His admission to the reckless use of a firearm also didn't help his case as the MLB wants to save face while leagues like the NFL continue to struggle with this type of bad press.