Milton Bradley has such a fun name… why’s he have to keep ruining it by doing lousy things?
The latest incident – in which Bradley was arrested yesterday on felony charges for threatening an “unidentified woman” – is still firmly in the “alleged” category. No details have leaked out yet as to what precisely he’s charged with, beyond that, let alone evidence of anything. But it’s going to be an uphill battle for the public to keep an open mind, since half his Wikipedia page is taken up with “Controversies.” And that list isn’t even comprehensive – it does not include, for example, a prior domestic violence allegation (although that never led to an arrest, and in a separate incident Bradley was the one who called the police on his wife; the police were called to his home three times in a 33-day span). U.S.S. Mariner has a more detailed rundown of Bradley’s troubles over the years. The fact that he’s still in the majors and being paid $11,000,000 a year is a testament to both Bradley’s talent and the Cubs’ poor judgment.
The Mariners, who work with a number of Seattle women’s charities, were lauded in the past for their “zero-telerance” policy on domestic violence – which, as demonstrated by the mess of the Josh Leuke incident, turned out to be, really, more of a guideline. It will be interesting to see what action, if any, they take with Bradley when more facts are known. And although this is premature, it’s interesting to think about what we believe they should do.
It’s a complicated issue. As long as someone is legally free to work, after all, a team has a right to hire them. I appreciate that the Mariners care enough about domestic violence to draw up a policy against it… but with an issue that so often comes with conflicting information, changing stories and inconclusive evidence, it’s not simple to enforce. And if you’re not going to enforce it, what’s the point of having it – except as a PR tactic with a high chance of backfiring?
Of course, there’s a difference between finding yourself in a moral muddle and – as appears to have happened with Leuke – deciding that your farm system is more important than your ethical system. The former is understandable and maybe, with this kind of situation, unavoidable. The latter is pathetic.