Written By Jason Voorhees
Phillies centerfielder Odubel Herrera was arrested on Monday evening after a reported incident of domestic violence. The alleged incident took place in Atlantic City and involved his 20-year-old girlfriend. According to the police report, the victim "had visible signs of injury to her arms and neck that was sustained after being assaulted by her boyfriend, David Odubel Herrera, during a dispute." It was also reported that she refused medical attention while Herrera was charged with simple assault and released on a summons.
The Phillies released a statement on Tuesday that they had swiftly communicated the incident to Major League Baseball, who subsequently put Odubel on administrative paid leave of absence. Of course, Herrera faces swift discipline under Major League Baseball's Domestic Abuse Policy. If found to be accurate, Herrera faces a lengthy suspension and is placed on the restricted list.
Now the Philadelphia Phillies find themselves in somewhat unchartered waters. Domestic violence in professional sports is nothing new, and all sports leagues have adopted more aggressive domestic abuse policies as reported abuse cases have risen throughout the years. The NFL cases have been well documented recently as many high profile players have found themselves in trouble in this area. Major League Baseball has also had its share of incidents, most notably Addison Russell, Aroldis Chapman, and Roberto Osuna.
The Cubs Addison Russell, the most recent case of note, received a 40game suspension without pay. The Cubs chose to keep Russell, and he is now back on their roster after the hiatus. Last season, the Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna was suspended for domestic violence. The Blue Jays, however, chose to part ways by trading Osuna to the Houston Astros. So in both of these cases, the players did receive punishment, but here they are still playing in the league.
In my opinion, all of these leagues fall short when it comes to their execution of these policies, and my take is that teams need to take matters into their own hands when dealing with these players. We are not talking about drug offenses here, folks. These domestic issues involve violence towards women in most cases, which is NOT OK!
Let's face it, Odubel Herrera has not been playing well as of late anyway. But really, that should not matter in this case. What does matter is that Odubel has allegedly committed a violent act that led to his arrest. The Phillies have been put in a precarious situation, and there are steps that the organization needs to take before they determine their next move. However, what I am calling for is the immediate release of this player. Athletes need to be held accountable for their actions, and when it comes to abuse of women their needs to be ZERO TOLERANCE.
People do make mistakes. And yes, Herrera will most definitely receive a suspension. However, this is a chance for the Philadelphia Phillies organization to take a stand. It's time to send a message to athletes across the nation. Do the right thing, Phillies. Teams need to put the right thing ahead of the valuation of talent and betterment of the roster. Just look across the way at the NFL for a current example of the exact opposite.
The Kansas City Chiefs star wide receiver, Tyreek Hill, was recently accused of domestic violence on a child. This would appear on the surface to be even worse than the abuse of an adult woman. But yet Tyreek Hill is still employed by the Chiefs. Not only has he not been suspended or punished, but he is also still a current member of the roster with team officials standing by their players. This is an absolute travesty, and the Chiefs have done not only a disservice to the NFL but also this is a slap in the face to you and me.
Domestic violence is not going to go away anytime soon. Yes, the leagues have had to take a more aggressive stance in these cases. But the onus falls on the team. While clubs remain soft and fall short, the individual units have a chance to make a difference here truly. With that in mind, the Phillies have an opportunity to set a precedence in their sport and an option to send a message to all other sports leagues.
The Phillies need to cut ties now and cut Odubel Herrera. The remaining salary figure is not essential. Protecting the player's brand is not necessary. What is critical is showing women across America that their well-being is more sacred than the sanctity of a player's legacy. The fact that Odubel was arrested is fact enough that he made a huge mistake. Yes, we do not know all the facts...but the facts are clear that an alleged abuse did occur. For a police department to make an arrest, there had to be good evidence that a crime occurred.
Take a stand, Phillies. Do the right thing. Athletes and their fountains of talent need to be sent a message here. No one is bigger than the game. Domestic violence should not be tolerated, and if Zero Tolerance is truly Zero Tolerance, then the player has to be cut. It's time to start taking this more seriously. The Phillies have a chance to make a decision that could transcend sports in general. This could be the start of a new movement. The ball is in your court, Phillies. Now take the bat and hit it out of the park. Or risk yet another mistake in a long line of errors. It's time to send that message!
About Jason Voorhees
Jason resides in Norristown, PA and writes about all things sports and heavy metal music.