So for eight days the Red Sox went on with their business without Cordero. He wasn’t a distraction to the team because he wasn’t there. Nor was there any fodder for columnists or the talk shows about the Red Sox’s sensitivity toward women’s issues or domestic abuse, because the team jumped in and took care of the troubled employee immediately.
Ultimately, Cordero returned to the Red Sox for a little while and was eventually released. But not before the player did some work in Boston for abuse awareness and then plead guilty to the charges and received a 90-day sentence, suspended for two years.
Last weekend, the Phillies had a chance to be proactive in regard to one of their ballplayers up on charges of domestic abuse in Boston. Instead, the team allowed Brett Myers to pitch on national television against his idol, Curt Schilling, just a day after he was released on $200 bail. Additionally, the team issued a terse statement reading that it was going to respect the privacy of Myers, and the alleged victim, his wife, Kim, and chose not to do anything.
Actually, that’s not entirely true. The Phillies chose to allow Myers to pitch.
Four days later, when Myers decided it might be the correct course of action to leave the team until after the All-Star Break, the Phillies finally did something. They allowed the pitcher to do what he wanted.
Perhaps this is the proper action. After all, unlike the Cordero case there are several witnesses that saw Myers’ alleged violence against a young mother of two small children. But the popular sentiment coming from Camden Yards on Tuesday afternoon was that the Phillies, once again, reacted instead of acted.
Not so say the Phillies. In team president David Montgomery’s statement issued through the club’s public relations staff on Tuesday, the club acted in the only way that it could:
“After last Friday, the Phillies did not comment further on the events surrounding the arrest of Brett Myers out of respect for the Myers’ privacy and because there is a criminal prosecution pending,” Montgomery wrote. “Likewise, the Phillies did not summarily suspend Brett Myers immediately upon his arrest, prior to any judicial determination of guilt or complete evaluation of the entire matter. Such a decision, unfortunately, has been portrayed or interpreted as the Phillies indifference to problems of spousal abuse. Nothing could be further from the truth. We abhor such violence and recognize that it is a very serious problem affecting a substantial number of victims, particularly women, across the country.
“If we have been guilty of delay in expressing these sentiments, we are sorry. We have been engaged in a difficult balancing of concerns for the rights of our employee, the presumption of innocence, the rights of his spouse, and the legitimate public concern about allegations of spousal abuse by a Phillies ballplayer. We believe that the present status, including a public apology by Brett Myers, time off from baseball, professional assistance for Brett and Kim Myers, and this statement achieves the appropriate balance for now.”
That’s all well and good, says Julie Cousler Emig of the Philadelphia Domestic Violence Collaborative, one of four organizations in Philadelphia that fights domestic violence and supports victims, but the Phillies are missing the ball once again. Cousler Emig wrote a letter to Montgomery indicating that she would like to see one of the large-market Major League clubs like the Phillies take a bold stance on something as serious as domestic abuse.
“I think we'd like to see some further action taken by the Phillies,” said Cousler Emig. “It seems like Brett Myers offered a convenient out for the team to deal with this in a minimal way. We would like to see, in the meantime, the Phillies take us on our offer to join us in an anti-domestic violence complaint. This is really a chance for them to right some wrongs.”
The charges against Myers would be a good place to start. After all, it seems as if this recent arrest of a Phillies player is just the latest on a long list of some questionable behavior. For instance:
At the time of his arrest, Urbina was technically a free agent.
It reportedly took four Philadelphia police officers to subdue Michaels, who spent nine hours in detention. However, Michaels reported on time and was in uniform for that night’s game against the Braves.
The Phillies response after all of these incidents has been consistent – issue a statement through the PR staff and hope people get distracted by something else.
No such luck in this case.
There is still time for the Phillies to be proactive this time. Perhaps the club can take Cousler Emig up on her offer and do something meaningful in combating the scourge of domestic abuse. Better yet, the Phillies and Myers could get involved in some behind-the-scenes work at a shelter without fanfare, press releases or TV cameras.
According to the Centers for Disease Control domestic violence is a serious, public health problem affecting more than 32 million Americans. That total is more than 10 percent of the U.S. population, and three different Phillies have been in the legal system for alleged domestic abuse since 2002.
That’s three too many.
Labels: Brett Myers