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Aroldis Chapman, Domestic Violence, And The Cincinnati Reds

What happened, what do we know, and what will come next?

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Huh, what a Monday, right?  I figured I'd be writing about prospects.  Apparently, that won't be so.  Instead, I'm about to talk about something none of us want to talk about.  We're going to be discussing in the coming days and weeks a subject no one wants to discuss.  It's not that we shouldn't be talking about it, but it's because as a society we shouldn't have to.  We should be better.  People need to be better.  The fact that this keeps happening is troubling enough.

Monday morning, Aroldis Chapman looked to be heading to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Reds would be getting some prospects we could argue about.  Monday night, a report from Yahoo stated Aroldis Chapman was involved in a domestic violence incident in October. Baseball is on the back burner.

First, I'd like to point out that I do not condone domestic violence.  No rational, decent human being does.  At the first breaking of the news I went through a wide range of emotion.  Shock, anger, rage, and above all, sadness because this kind of thing is happening once again.  Secondly, I'd like to point out that I'm not a lawyer.  I'm a teacher.  I am in no way qualified to speak on or understand the legalities that go into this.  A lot of what I am going to say is speculation, though, much of what we have right now is speculation.  We need to understand that.  If I say something that offends someone, I apologize in advance.

What I'm trying to relay is we need to take a step back.  Let the journalists do their job.  Let's get the facts before we rush to judgments.  A lot has happened, and it is all very fresh.  I'll try to do my best to point to what has happened and been said on Monday night.  I think the one tweet that best sums up the confusion right now is from C. Trent Rosencrans.

We can't assume what we don't know.  It's dangerous, and I'll leave it at that.

What Yahoo reported is that Chapman had a disagreement with his girlfriend (whether past or present doesn't matter).  This also may be the mother of his child.  In the course of the disturbance, Chapman allegedly had put his hands around the woman's neck.  The two were separated, and at some point Chapman shot off a firearm several times in his garage and punched a car.  I don't even know everything that is involved in this.  There seems to be so much.  Many police arrived at the scene, there was no evidence of physical violence, and the people (including witnesses) at the scene were uncooperative.  Neither the police nor the victim of the alleged assault pressed charges.  This happened back in October, before the trade talks with Boston.  Apparently, the accusations showed up on their background check.

We can talk until we are blue in the face about what Chapman did and didn't do.  Whether he laid hands on his girlfriend withstanding, he also shot off a firearm several times in a residential area.  He was obviously angry and violent, and his past has been quite sketchy as well.  This will all be held against him in any future legal proceedings, by the league, and in the court of public opinion.

The police report stated that no physical violence could be proven.  Charges were not filed, and that's where we are right now.  Charges were not filed.  No arrests were made.

Now, most cases of domestic violence never see the light of day.  Even more cases are not charged or prosecuted.  In the case of a professional athlete, it's probably even more rare.  The story is very damning, but we'll have to wait for more information to surface.  We need time to digest what is happening instead of jumping to conclusions.

In the course of the breaking story what we can speculate is what the Reds knew, when they knew it, and what they did with the information.  Rumor is Major League Baseball did not know.

There is no way possible I can believe the Reds did not know.  The Red Sox knew.  There is a police report, and with Chapman's past, I'd assume they check in on him quite often.  However, if the Reds had this information, what are they allowed to do with it?

Based on the league's domestic violence policy, and union policy, are the Reds required to report if there are no charges?  What legal protections is the player allowed when there are no charges filed?  Can you discipline someone based on allegations?  I would guess not, but maybe so.  The NFL can now, I'd guess MLB would try to get the same provisions.  There just needs to be an investigation.  Just like there recently was with Johnny Manziel.  The difference there is no gun was involved.

Regardless of what happens, I'd expect the union to fight tooth and nail. The Reds could find themselves in a lot of hot water.  Chapman could be suspended, fined, cut from the team, or this all quietly goes away and he's traded later.  This is all very weird from a baseball stand point, especially because Chapman was on the verge of being dealt.

Did the Reds really know?

If they did, could they do anything about it?

How many other teams have known about this?

Did they deem it not a big deal until it was made public?

Was this covered up?

Is a deal finalized until MLB clears this all up?  I doubt it.

Will charges eventually be filed?

How much do we hold our own Front Office responsible?

There are so many questions, and from what I can see, very little answers.  This doesn't just start and end with what Chapman did or did not do.

From first glance, it looks like there is quite a lack of institutional control based on ethical reasons.  I don't want to be embarrassed of my team, but there is a lot of timing and legal questions that need to be answered.

We do know that Walt Jocketty is pulling back on the reigns and is being somewhat up front with the other teams.

How does this impact the Reds from a team standpoint?  This is one of the worst things that could happen for PR and functionality as a baseball team.  The Reds are rebuilding.  They need to trade Chapman.  However, at this moment, Chapman is literally untradeable.  No shiny, new prospects, no money coming off the books, and now one of the most exciting players in Reds' history has a tarnished reputation and career.  This could also put other trades on pause as the Reds and MLB try to figure it all out.

Teams will be shying away for these two obvious reason.  I don't know what the next steps are in this debacle, but we'll do our best at Red Reporter to keep you all informed.  I just ask that we try to keep the conversations civil and respectful.  A lot is going on, and we don't really know the full truth behind any of it.  It's just a sad, awful situation all around, and I expect we'll know much more very soon.