This is a guest post from Emily (@emilydawnlove) on Roberto Osuna.
I loved Roberto Osuna.
I’ve only been a serious baseball fan for the last eight years. I’m too young to remember the World Series teams and I was too checked out of baseball to have properly appreciated Doc’s glory years. On my personal pantheon of Blue Jays, Osuna was at the top.
It’s not easy being a female sports fan. You’re never allowed to forget for very long that professional sports care significantly less about you than they do your male counterparts. I have watched the Blue Jays’ treatment of Osuna carefully since May, scrutinizing every statement for hidden meanings, looking desperately for a hint that they would do the right thing. It never materialized. This trade may make them look better than the alternative, but it was a decision they were able to make easily because the team is floundering through a lost season. I wish I could believe that the Blue Jays would have cut ties with Osuna even if they were in the thick of a playoff hunt, but I am not that naïve.
Now that he is gone, the team will start to leak that this was their plan all along. That they never intended to let him pitch in a Jays jersey again. I would love to swallow the pablum that Jon Morosi is pushing, but the fact is that the Blue Jays had every opportunity to condemn Osuna in no uncertain terms and the best they could give us was “that’s where we’re going to spend our time and energy is on being empathetic and trying to understand.”
I am a Jays fan. I understand the desire to project a certain level of enlightenment and goodness onto the team you love. I would love to believe that my team was the one to make the progressive decision to extricate an abuser from their roster as soon as they found out, but to believe that would require a superhuman suspension of disbelief. Condemnation of abuse does not include calls for compassion for the abuser. This team has done absolutely nothing to earn the benefit of the doubt.
The Blue Jays are a professional sports team in a huge city still holding onto a lot of goodwill from two years of playoff runs after decades of futility. They are enormously wealthy and wield tremendous national influence. If they wanted to make a positive impact in the fight against domestic violence they absolutely could do so. Nothing they have done so far has indicated any such interest. Where are the donations to organizations dedicated to helping victims? Where are the educational initiatives? Hell, where are the calls for compassion for the woman Osuna abused?
Sports fans display a limitless ability to excuse all manner of abusive behaviour as long as an athlete takes the field wearing the right logo. Do not be one of those fans. There will be calls for nuance in the days to come, pleas for second chances, reminders that Osuna is innocent until proven guilty under the law. A man with three little girls in his profile picture messaged me on Instagram to tell me that Osuna’s girlfriend probably got what she deserved and that it shouldn’t matter what he did to her because it happened off the field, where the Jays don’t pay him. You do not have to play this game.
2.87 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 104 career saves. When you are confronted with these numbers as a defence for domestic violence, please keep these other numbers in mind: One in five women in Canada will experience some form of Intimate Partner Violence in their lifetime. 83% of the victims of IPV are women. An estimated 362,000 children witness or experience family violence every year. On average, one woman is killed by her partner every six days in this country.
We are not in a position to help Osuna’s victim, but we walk beside other victims every day of our lives. You can make your community safer for them by believing women and challenging those who do not. Donate to your local women’s shelter. And throw your Osuna jersey in the garbage.