Braves’ Marcell Ozuna arrested on domestic violence charge

Getty Images
3 Comments

NEW YORK — Atlanta Braves star Marcell Ozuna was arrested on charges of aggravated assault by strangulation and battery after police officers said they witnessed him attacking his wife.

A statement from the Sandy Springs Police Department in Georgia said officers responded to a 911 call Saturday afternoon and entered a home where the front door was open and they heard screaming coming from inside.

The statement said officers witnessed Ozuna grab his wife by the neck and throw her against a wall.

“In addition to the strangulation attempts, the suspect also struck the victim with his arm which has a cast from a previous injury,” the statement said.

“The victim did have visible injuries, but was not transported to the hospital,” the police report said.

Ozuna has been booked into Fulton County Jail. An apparent photo of his arrest was posted by a user on Twitter. Sandy Springs is a suburb of Atlanta.

Major League Baseball’s Department of Investigations plans to review the matter under the joint domestic violence policy in place between MLB and the players association.

“We learned of Marcell Ozuna’s arrest earlier this evening and immediately informed the Commissioner’s Office,” the Braves said in a statement. “The Braves fully support Major League Baseball’s policy on domestic violence which stresses to the fullest that our society cannot and will not tolerate domestic violence in any form. Until the investigation is completed, we will have no further comment and all inquiries into the matter should be referred to the Office of the Commissioner.”

Ozuna was placed on the injured list Friday by the Braves with two dislocated fingers on his left hand. In the photo circulating of his apparent arrest, he’s wearing a bright yellow cast.

Atlanta is in New York for a series against the Mets this weekend. The Braves lost 13-2 on Saturday night, and manager Brian Snitker said he learned of the arrest after the game.

“The Braves have made a statement. I stand by that and that’s all I know,” Snitker said.

Ozuna re-signed with Atlanta in February on a $65 million, four-year deal after a stellar first season with the Braves in 2020.

He batted .338, led the National League with 18 homers and finished sixth in NL MVP balloting, becoming a fan favorite in the process with his colorful celebrations, including mimed selfies after home runs.

The Dominican outfielder hit it off with young teammates Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies. Ozuna also was a driver of the club’s pot-stirring hand gesture, used by players to celebrate big hits.

Ozuna is in his ninth major league season. He spent his first five with Miami, where he was an All-Star in 2016 and 2017, before playing two years for the St. Louis Cardinals. He is a .273 career hitter with 173 homers and 620 RBIs.

Ozuna’s wife, Genesis Ozuna, was arrested on a domestic violence charge in Miami a year ago.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
2 Comments

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.