As you all know, Mets closer Jeurys Familia was arrested last October following an alleged domestic violence incident. In December, the charges against Familia were dropped, in large part because his wife and alleged victim Bianca Rivas, asked prosecutors to drop them, indicating that she would not cooperate in her husband’s prosecution.
As you also know, Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy is not contingent upon a successful criminal prosecution, and the league’s investigation of Familia has proceeded. He is likely facing a suspension of 30 games or so, akin to the suspension Aroldis Chapman received under similar circumstances (Chapman was not even arrested).
Bob Klapisch has been talking to some MLB officials who are frustrated with the Familia investigation. He characterizes it as Familia and his wife “stonewalling” investigators, and says that MLB “has been rebuffed in its attempts to learn more and, specifically, whether Rivas felt pressured to ask for a dismissal [of the criminal case].”
On the one hand I am sure it is frustrating to Major League Baseball, which has admirably taken on the responsibility of punishing players involved in domestic violence incidents, to be unable to proceed with its investigation. In this they share the same frustration experienced by those in the criminal justice system who are invested in prosecuting domestic violence cases. It’s an extraordinarily difficult type of case with often perverse incentives at play. Regrettably, it is often the case that the victims of domestic violence are placed under more scrutiny and duress than the alleged perpetrators of the crimes.
On the other hand, it’s unseemly, in my view, for MLB’s frustrations in this regard to be leaked to a columnist like this. Especially when those frustrations seem to be focused on Ms. Rivas, the victim, and her claimed lack of cooperation. Major League Baseball’s Department of Investigations has a markedly checkered track record and has exhibited a profound lack of integrity when it comes to the most sensitive of matters, so it should not be given an uncritical forum to air its grievances with respect to such matters now.
If Major League Baseball is being stonewalled as it tries to do the right thing, well, that’s unfortunate. But in this instance its anonymous and grumpy leaking of the problems it is having with the investigation comes off as victim blaming. It’s a bad look and they should cut that out immediately.