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In its first case under the league's new domestic violence policy, Major League Baseball suspended Yankees reliever Aroldis Chapman for the first 30 games of the upcoming season. Chapman's girlfriend accused him of choking her during an argument last year.
In a statement, Chapman said he accepts the punishment and will not appeal the league's decision. "The decision to accept a suspension, as opposed to appealing one, was made after careful consideration," he said. "I made this decision in an effort to minimize the distractions that an appeal would cause the Yankees, my new teammates and most importantly, my family."
MLB and the Players Association agreed to the new domestic violence policy last August, and Chapman's is the first suspension handed down under the new rules. There is "no minimum or maximum penalty under the policy" and a player does not have to been convicted or even criminally charged in order to be disciplined by the league.
That was the case in Chapman's arrest. Police declined to press charges after Chapman's girlfriend accused him of pushing her up against a wall and placing his hands on her throat. She also told police her brother intervened and allowed her to escape. Chapman only admitted to poking her in the arm, though he also conceded that he retrieved a hand gun from his car and firing eight shots into his garage.
Chapman has maintained his innocence, although he will not challenge his suspension:
"Today, I accepted a 30 game suspension from Major League Baseball resulting from my actions on October 30, 2015. I want to be clear, I did not in any way harm my girlfriend that evening. However, I should have exercised better judgment with respect to certain actions, and for that I am sorry."
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred noted Chapman taking responsibility for his actions in his own statement, saying his "acknowledged conduct on that day to be inappropriate under the negotiated Policy, particularly his use of a firearm and the impact of that behavior on his partner."
As Deadspin pointed out, the next domestic violence investigation in the queue is Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes, who is accused of grabbing his wife by the throat and shoving her into a sliding glass door.
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