Aroldis Chapman returns to the Yankees today after serving his 30-game domestic violence suspension, but the fireballing reliever has yet to take much responsibility for the incident that landed him on MLB’s banned list.
“I didn’t do anything,” he said. “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.”
Asked if his girlfriend’s calling 911 last October while hiding in the bushes because she was terrified was a problem, Chapman said: “It was just an argument with your partner that everyone has. I’ve even argued with my mother. When you are not in agreement with someone, we Latin people are loud when we argue.”
Despite his dismissing the incident—in which his girlfriend accused him of hitting and choking her—as “nothing,” Chapman did not appeal MLB’s suspension. He returned to the issue of ethnicity when further explaining things:
Chapman said Latino ballplayers were a target because of the money they made and because they were not familiar with the norms and laws of the United States. [...] “Unfortunately, that is the way it is,” Chapman said. “We make a lot of money, everyone wants a piece of it, and we end up looking bad. When I had the problem, everyone thinks I did something wrong; in social media, people are saying I hit my girlfriend.”
Those comments, published Saturday by the Times, forced Chapman to clarify at Yankee Stadium yesterday—where the lefty claimed he wasn’t referring to domestic violence or Major League Baseball, but to things “in general.” ESPN quotes Chapman thusly:
I was not talking about MLB, or anything regarding the suspension or the suspension of any Latinos under the new MLB policy [...] 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 US, 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 league’s domestic violence policy thus far; three were born in Cuba, and the other—Jose Reyes—is Dominican. Reyes is expected to be banned for at least 60 games, according to MLB’s Jon Heyman.)
Major League Baseball responded with a statement to the Times that read, in part, “All personnel are held accountable for their conduct irrespective of where they were born.”
Police elected not to charge Chapman with a crime due to a lack of cooperating witnesses, a failure to read Chapman his rights before taking a statement, and Florida gun laws.