What we can learn from the Osuna situation

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.

    • Manny b

      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,

      I find it very difficult to agree with this statement. Progressive? As in, let’s get this guy off our roster and let someone else deal with it. That’s progressive?

      I will never defend an abuser for their actions. However, what is done is done and we cannot change what happened, we can only hope to influence the future.

      In my mind, it would have been much more progressive to work with osuna to rehabilitate him.

      Arden and BNS did an in depth podcast on with a domestic violence expert which I found very enlightening. It’s worthy of a listen.

      IMHO the Bluejays had the opportunity to actually be progressive and deal with osuna themselves.

      • DAKINS

        The only way that would work is if they also released Osuna, and never let him pitch for the team ever again. Sadly, I doubt any team would ever do that to a player with any value left from a purely business standpoint.

    • Prospectplayer

      I find it harder every day to be proud to be Canadian. The second this event occurred Osuna was automatically guilty and condemned to rot in hell. NOBODY had heard then and even now what actually happened. He at least was diserving of his right to a day in court. Not social media court but real court, you know the one that has lawyers and judges. Canada is not the only place this happens but we used to lead the way in making sure everyone got their day in court. God help some of you who found him guilty prior to having any knowledge whatsoever of what happened that night. I hope it never happens to you. Now having my rant if the courts find him guilty lock him up, throw away the key and burn his jersey. But this is Canada can we please look at this with Canadian eyes and not the PC way we are becoming

      • lukewarmwater

        As I stated earlier I have come to the conclusion stated by others that M.L.B. doesn’t suspend guys for 75 games unless they are totally convinced a serious domestic incident indeed took place. However where you have some merit is in cases such as John Furlong, the great organiser of the Vancouver and Whistler 2010 olympics who had his name and family dragged through the mud for years by a so called journalist. John was never charged as the case against him was so ludicrous as it was proven one of the three accusers never even attended the school where suposably Furlong had committed the falsely claimed crimes. Even after clearing his name Furlong who is around 70 years old decided to not counter sue to avoid having his family dragged through a long trial. Mr. Furlong still gives and gives to the community. About a year ago he was invited to be a guest speaker out at my old alma mater, U.B.C. for a fund raiser for intramural athletics. One wing nut complained to the U.B.C. president and this president cancelled the meeting. Fortunately numerous alumni including myself got on the phone and blasted this president and simply informed him not one more cent of alumni funding for the university. Well the President changed his mind, the classy John Furlong spoke and helped raise half a million for recreational sports at U.B.C.
        The second infamous case which involved several Canadian students is the infamous Duke Lacrosse team that saw the team shut down. Eventually thanks to the hard work of several people, it was proven that the accuser had totally made up the story. But Duke suffered tremendously and these terrific lacrosse players lost a whole year due to false statements.
        Quite frankly I’m in the camp that the troubled Roberto Osuna did commit domestic violence as indicated by the sentence from the M.L.B.
        But always, always remember that there is two sides to a story with the accusers certainly being right in the vast majority of time. But for those who commit the crimes throw the book at them. But also throw the same book at those who falsely ruin the lives of men like John Furlong and the Duke Lacrosse team.

  • Betas

    I may be niave but i believe they never intended to have him pitch in TO again. Sadly these players are assets and to publicly state he was out in TO would diminish the value of said asset. Im ok with this response to the situation as i dont believe they legally could have done/said much else without more publically available info or a conviction. If he pitched again for TO I wouldve stopped supporting the team – seroiusly….

  • dolsh

    Great post. It sickened me a little bit to hear all the comments and posts suggesting that he should be back. That he deserved a second chance.

    I’m happy he’s gone. I knew it wasn’t going to happen quickly – baseball just wasn’t going to work that way. But I knew it would happen before he had a chance to be activated.

    I’m still a little saddened that there likely won’t be stronger repercussions.

  • Free Osuna

    It’s awful to suggest “she got what she deserved.”
    Is it awful to crucify a young man over facts we’re left to speculate over?

    I too have stayed glued to this issue since it broke, admittedly not for the same reasons as you. I’m always skeptical when a hero falls, it’s sad to say, but false accusations appear to be on the rise. Let me hedge here, I’m not suggesting this accusation was false. All I want to say, is that we don’t know much at all. If further details emerge, Ray Rice-esque tapes for example, I’ll readily eat my words. On the far end of the spectrum is Brian Banks, we all pray we never see that happen again. In the unknown lies Jose Reyes, we’ll never know what happened between he and his wife, though he was readily embraced by the Mets fans.

    I don’t mean to outright defend Mr Osuna, but I will speak out against those ready to outright condemn him. Someday we may know more. Today all we know is that he was suspended by the league, and he served his suspension. Sadly, as you said, we’re in no position to help the victim. But neither are we appropriately equipped to condemn the alleged. Donate to your local women’s shelter, but at least for today, look at your Bobby-O jersey and remember 2.87 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 104 career saves.

    • HNZ

      Chris Hardwick and Aziz. Don’t pick sides before you know what happened, ask those two. Just because one doesn’t judge a situation the same way you do based on the exact same knowledge of what happened (or lack thereof) does not make you any better of a person. Please stop the virtue signally. I’m all for holding people accountable but I’m not going to blindly do it like the generation who don’t remember the WS teams LOL

  • Jeff2sayshi

    This society of no second chances, and condemnation of humans is worrying. I’m not saying anything Osuna did was right. I’m not saying his numbers excuse everything. I’m CERTAINLY not agreeing with any dolt that said she deserved it.

    All I’m saying is you can make a positive impact by actually trying to change and rehabilitate someone. Look at the Pillar situation from last year where he had to do work within the LGBT community. Just because of one instance we can’t just throw people out.

  • Rusty Shackleford

    Fantastic, another person on their high horse, preaching right and wrong. Everyone deserves a second chance. Who among hasn’t made a mistake (big or small). Domestic violence is disgusting, but also disgusting is random people playing judge, jury and executioner sitting in starbucks, hiding behind their laptop.

    • TGreg

      But there are consequences to actions. MLB conducted their own investigation and felt it worthy to suspend him 75 games. It may or may not have been significant enough to warrant the criminal charges that were laid, but let’s not dismiss this as though nobody can know what happened so everyone should give him the benefit of the doubt, give him another chance; MLB acted, and now the Jays have acted, and I’m very happy that they did.

    • Magicaleigh

      Yes someone that is against cheering for a player who’s been suspended harshly for DV is the exactly the same as someone who commits the crime. What a great point, says me the man who is garbage.

  • lukewarmwater

    What we have learned is that certain teams such as the Yankees and Cubs put winning at all costs ahead of an abuser, in this case the flame throwing Chapman. Now we have the world series champ owners willing to take Osuna from the Jays even though key players such as Verlander have vociferously complained about domestic violence as the great Houston pitcher referred to a former Astro prospect and tore him apart for his disgusting behaviour.
    We have of course also seen the N.F.L. have situations where teams have picked up players let go from a team with serious infractions in the past.

  • abigditka

    So now the victim has returned to Mexico and the charges are likely to be dropped according to the latest reports. So the Jays just dumped an allstar over claims that will never be substantiated, never proven and our return was a headcase lol Bravo Shapiro!! What a fucking moron, I bet he knew she left the country. Astros be closing games while our guy will be knocking himself out smh.. Not only are these guys not improving this team, they are taking us backwards.