Aroldis Chapman, the first player disciplined under Major League Baseball’s new domestic violence policy, joins the New York Yankees on Monday after serving a 30-day suspension.
“I didn’t do anything,” Chapman said (via the New York Times). “People are thinking that it’s something serious; I have not put my hands on anyone, didn’t put anyone in danger. Since I didn’t do anything like that, I’m not thinking about it. If I didn’t do anything, why should I think about it? That is in the past. Now I’m thinking about more important things: my family, kids, my career.”
During an argument with his girlfriend, Cristina Barnea, last fall in Davie, Fla., Chapman allegedly fired eight shots into the garage wall and, according to Barnea, put his hands around her neck. Chapman was not arrested and no charges were filed because Barnea and other witnesses declined to cooperate. In addition, he was not read his rights before a statement was taken and no Florida gun laws were violated. But suspension under the new domestic violence policy does not require a conviction and Chapman, who did not appeal the suspension, forfeited $1,856,777 in salary.
“It was just an argument with your partner that everyone has. I’ve even argued with my mother,” the Cuban-American player said. “When you are not in agreement with someone, we Latin people are loud when we argue.”
The Times reported that Chapman said Latino players were targets because of a lack of familiarity with laws and customs in the United States, a statement he clarified Sunday.
“I was not talking about MLB, or anything regarding the suspension or the suspension of any Latinos under the new MLB policy,” he said (via ESPN). “[…] It had nothing do with that. I was talking about what could happen to us on the street, wherever we are, to all of us Latinos who come from other countries, Cuba, Dominican Republic, anyone who does not know the system and doesn’t have much knowledge about the U.S., there are many people who take advantage of that. We come from different countries and cultures. That’s what I was talking about.”
Four players have been investigated under the new policy. Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig and Atlanta Braves infielder Hector Olivera are from Cuba; Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes is from the Dominican Republic.
In a statement to the Times, MLB noted that all players receive domestic violence counseling in English and Spanish. “All personnel are held accountable for their conduct irrespective of where they were born,” MLB said.