SEATTLE -- The speed with which Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association developed its joint agreement on domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse didn’t surprise Tyler Flowers.
The MLBPA representative for the White Sox, Flowers said the policy that was rolled out Friday to punish any players or personnel involved in domestic violence has been a hot topic since last offseason at the MLBPA meetings.
Following several high profile NFL cases before the 2014 season, MLB and the MLBPA have been adamant they wanted to get a policy in place as quickly as possible. While no minimum or maximum penalty is listed among the guidelines, there is at the least a plan in place for Commissioner Rob Manfred to doll out the appropriate punishment if necessary.
“Just to get in front of it a little bit is always a good thing to show that Major League Baseball and the players as a unit care enough to spend time and effort to formulate a plan just in case anybody does find themselves in this predicament,” Flowers said. “Hopefully we don’t ever have to use it, but it’s good to have something there.”
“We all take it serious.”
The NFL and its commissioner, Roger Goodell, had a tumultuous offseason in 2014 after Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson made national headlines with their involvement in high-profile incidents. Goodell received criticism for his handling of Rice’s punishment, which was increased from two games an indefinite suspension.
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MLB’s policy covers potential treatment and intervention, investigations as well as “training, education and resources.” Both Manfred and MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark spoke about the policy at the All-Star Game last month and said the two sides would have an announcement shortly.
“Major League Baseball and its clubs are proud to adopt a comprehensive policy that reflects the gravity and the sensitivities of these significant societal issues,” Manfred said in a press release. “We believe that these efforts will foster not only an approach of education and prevention but also a united stance against these matters throughout our sport and our communities.”
Said Clark: “Players are husbands, fathers, sons and boyfriends. And as such want to set an example that makes clear that there is no place for domestic abuse in our society. We are hopeful that this new comprehensive, collectively-bargained policy will deter future violence, promote victim safety, and serve as a step toward a better understanding of the causes and consequences of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse.”