Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher and reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer was been placed on seven-day administrative leave by MLB today. The action is in response to an accusation of assault leveled against him by a San Diego woman who alleged that a consensual sexual relationship turned unacceptably and criminally violent. Bauer as recently as this morning was expected to make his next scheduled start on Sunday despite the charges.
The woman, who late last month was granted a restraining order against Bauer, alleged that Bauer exceeded any previously agreed on limits to consensual behavior to the point of causing physical injury. Bauer’s attorneys have countered the allegations by releasing text messages between Bauer and the woman in which following the first encounter she asked for especially rough treatment during the next meeting.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, when asked about the matter prior to Bauer being placed on leave, replied:
“I’m in the position of following the lead of Major League Baseball,” Roberts said. “Their recommendation was for us to — he was our scheduled Sunday starter, and to move forward and have him start that game on Sunday. … I just choose to follow their lead.”
Such stories are difficult to approach objectively. It is easy to strike a moral posture, convicting Bauer without a trial before legal charges have so much as been levied against him. It is equally easy to dismiss the woman’s claims as either a lover scorned, an attempt at extortion, or covering for the abuse suffered from another by charging a third party with its commission. It is equally easy to view the matter with cynical suspicion that this is an effort to throw the Dodgers off their present pursuit of defending their World Series title from last week. None of these takes on the matter have any gravitas.
The charges are serious. The behavior Bauer is accused of is unacceptable and possibly criminal. If the charges are exaggerated or wholly untrue, the woman is doing all actual victims of sexual assault a massive disservice by supplying more ammunition to scoffers in such matters. The professionals investigating the matter are hopefully immune to pressure from any of the aforementioned overreaching hot takes and are doing their job in a manner commensurate to the serious nature and multiple implications involved. This is not a laughing matter. This is a matter in which regardless of what direction the investigation’s conclusions lead, there are no winners. None.