Former big leaguer Milton Bradley was a combustable presence on the field and a violent man off of it. We knew this because we read the news reports of his multiple arrests and controversies. Anyone who remembers him will remember him as a bad guy.
But even if we knew that he was a bad guy, we probably didn’t think too hard about how bad a guy he was. I think we do that with most athletes who get in trouble, actually. We think of players as good seeds or bad seeds and think the good guys are generally all alike and the bad guys are generally all alike. But we don’t think too hard about the specific behavior which gets a guy labeled a bad seed. Especially guys who aren’t in the game anymore. Was he the drunk guy or the guy who was caught with the prostitute? Was he the guy who got in the bar fights or the guy who hit his wife that time? It all blends together to some extent. They aren’t important people to our daily lives. They’re just jocks and entertainers.
Sometimes, however, we’re reminded of just how bad a seed someone can be. Today we’re reminded of how bad Milton Bradley is in the form of this article in Sports Illustrated. It’s not an editorial. It’s not an argument against him or a profile of him. It’s nothing more than four pages setting forth legal records, and straightforward testimony — interspersed with some factual context from the news — about his abuse of his late wife, Monique Bradley. Some of it is her testimony in legal proceedings or affidavits. Some of it are Bradley’s own statements. All of it paints a horrifying picture of what life was like for Monique Bradley and her children as a result of Milton Bradley’s violence, threats and abuse.
If you go back and Google Bradley, you quickly learn of his arrests for beating and attempting to strangle his wife. His eventual conviction for domestic violence, which included battery, assault with a deadly weapon and death threats. You learn that, in September 2013, Monique Bradley died at the age of 33. This is all information that, even if we forgot or never knew, we can quickly ascertain without much effort. We can obtain basic information like this about all of the other bad seeds too. And then we can, as we so often and somewhat understandably do, forget what few details we know and go on with our own lives.
But after learning the details of Milton Bradley’s violence as set forth in this article, it’ll be much, much harder to forget them. And much, much harder for anyone who reads them to casually dismiss the next athlete we hear of who commits an act of domestic violence as one of the many bad seeds around, worthy of no more scrutiny than the other bad seeds.