Yesterday I called for Major League Baseball to work with the players union to craft a policy relating to domestic violence and other violent or destructive off-the-field behaviors. Andy Martino of the Daily News reports that they may do just that:
Baseball has been fortunate to not have the large number of players involved in domestic violence issues like the NFL or a scandal of Rice-like proportions, but should act before events force it to do so — and MLB and the union have in fact discussed meeting about this in the offseason.
When we checked in with officials on all sides Monday, this is what we gathered: A potential domestic violence policy first and foremost as a collective bargaining issue. Selig does not have a personal conduct policy at his disposal like Goodell. The current CBA expires in 2016, but there is precedent for midterm amendments.
While some people may claim that putting it to collective bargaining is not acting fast enough or decisively enough or what have you, the fact is that any policy that depends on the unilateral act of the commissioner is going to be prone to legal challenges and controversy. Just look at the A-Rod mess from last year, when Bud Selig moved to act against a player over and above what the CBA and the league’s drug policy called for. Yes, he was ultimately successful, but it took months and months of acrimony, legal maneuvering and all manner of unpleasantness to accomplish it.
What baseball — or any league — needs is a policy in place that is known in advance and the legitimacy of which is accepted by all. Which will actually serve to deter the conduct at which it is aimed without providing offenders avenues for challenges that go over and above that which is provided for in the system. A policy which the league and its players can rely on and feel like they’re a part of crafting as opposed to one being imposed upon them.
If that takes some time to get in place, fine, take the time. Better to do it right than to either not do it at all or to half-ass it.