Hailed as one of the strongest domestic violence policies in major sport, MLB’s policy has no minimum or maximum penalties. The policy gives the “joint policy board” broad latitude in imposing requirements and Commissioner Rob Manfred has already demonstrated some willingness to impose punishments without findings in criminal or civil court.
In 2015, Major League Baseball announced it’s current domestic violence policy. According to Paul Hagen of MLB.com, the policy defines four areas of activity:
Treatment and Intervention
A joint policy board, consisting of three experts in the field and two representatives each from the MLBPA and the Commissioner’s Office has been established. The board is responsible for developing a treatment plan.
Players may be required to submit to psychological evaluations, attend counseling sessions, comply with court orders (including child support orders), relocate from a home shared with his partner, limit his interactions with his partner, relinquish all weapons, and other reasonable directives designed to promote the safety of the player’s partner, children, or victims.
Players who fail to comply are subject to discipline from the Commissioner. All information is to be kept confidential.
The Commissisoner’s Office will invesigate all allegations of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse involving members of the baseball community. The Commissioner may place an accused player on paid administrative leave for up to seven days while allegations are investigated. Players may challenge any decision before the arbitration panel.
The Commissioner will decide on appropriate discipline, with no minimum or maximum penalty under the policy. Players may challenge such decisions to the arbitration panel.
Training, Education and Resources
All players will be provided education about domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse in both English and Spanish at regular intervals. Resources to players’ families — including referral information, websites, hotline numbers and outreach facilities — will be made available, along with a confidential 24-hour helpline.
An annual program of community outreach will be developed. It may include public service announcements featuring players, domestic violence awareness days at ballparks and other activities designed to spread awareness on the issues.