Julio Urias arrested for domestic violence; what the Dodgers should do now

Some unsettling, disappointing and infuriating news broke this morning about Dodgers’ left-hander Julio Urias.

Alden Gonzalez of ESPN confirmed the report.

I’ll let you read the details, but this is bad. And go ahead and miss me with your takes that in any way defend Urias.

It never ceases to amaze me that men feel they can put their hands on women in a violent way. It’s a huge problem in our world, and it doesn’t appear to be getting much better.

This is the Dodgers’ initial statement on the situation.

My first thought was that the Dodgers need to cut him. No trades, no options, just cut him — even if I knew that was about the last thing that would happen. Urias has a world of talent, but that doesn’t mean anything if he’s brazen enough to physically assault a women during a heated argument. The Dodgers’ track record dealing with things in this arena — another incident that mentioned Urias by name but not one in which he was accused of anything — recently is not great, and my thought was this could be a time when they could be proactive and not try to cover up a terrible crime against a woman by one of its players.

But I changed my mind after I was shown this article in our comments section by Juan. It’s from Deadspin’s Diana Moskovitz. In short, she opines that a zero-tolerance policy toward domestic violence from sports teams could actually make things worse for the victim of these domestic situations and questions whether those who push that solution actually care about the victims or just about grandstanding.

The Ray Rice and Josh Brown incidents in the NFL were the main examples used in the article.

Remember what started so many of the couple’s fights—worries that they didn’t have enough money. Remember that unemployment is a recognized risk factor in increasing the likelihood of domestic violence. Remember that one leader with the National Network To End Domestic Violence said, ‘If we would say that the first time your partner calls 911 your career is over, her risk of homicide shoots through the roof.’ Remember that Molly Brown is already split up from her husband, and that he needs an income to pay his court-ordered child support. Remember, finally, what Molly Brown told the detective on her case. ‘Molly was very fearful of what the future would be like if Josh was cut from the team,’ King Count Sheriff’s Det. Robin Ostrum wrote in a report, ‘and how that would impact his ability to pay child support. (…) Molly was afraid of it becoming a spectacle in the media and that Josh could (lose) his job.’

And this quote is from Janay Rice (the woman Ray Rice violently assaulted in an elevator), as told to the Washington Post.

If the league is serious about ending domestic violence in its ranks, it must rehabilitate instead of punish, they say. Penalties should be less draconian, so wives don’t worry about ending their husbands’ careers or threatening their families’ livelihoods. ‘They use (the NFL’s current policies) as leverage against you,’ says the ex-wife of the Saints player. ‘There’s abuse on every team. Everybody knows, but you know not to tell.’ Ultimately, she says, the case against Ray Rice has made the NFL less safe for women: ‘You will hear of a wife murdered before you hear another one come forward.’

I will definitely defer to those who not only know more than this than I do, but have done the necessary research to be able to speak knowledgeably about this.

There is a parallel to be drawn using this philosophy with not only how sports leagues handle these domestic situations, but the criminal justice system overall. But that’s a different discussion on a different site for a different day.

The article closes with this:

These women are trying to find what will make them safe again, but they know what won’t help. Sending their partners to the unemployment line won’t help them; creating a disincentive for victims to reach out for support won’t help them; and using victims as props in public-relations campaigns won’t help them. What they need is for their opinions to matter, and to be treated like human beings.

The fact the woman Urias allegedly assaulted didn’t want the police involved and denied any physical altercation took place is all too familiar. But if this truly did happen, the last thing on the Dodgers’ mind should be how Urias is going to help them on the field this year and beyond. They should instead be focused on rehabilitating him so that this never happens again. After all, while we don’t know if this is the first time Urias has been involved in a situation like this, and when one is willing to do this in a public setting you can’t help but wonder what goes on in a private setting.

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I’m honestly not sure what the right thing to do is here. The Dodgers and MLB will investigate the situation, and a suspension seems likely, especially if there’s video of the incident. But the Dodgers — and MLB, for that matter — should try to view this from a different perspective. Make the victim feel like her voice matters, get the necessary help for Urias, and then worry about what he’s going to do for your baseball team or league. That is a distant third in this scenario.

The worst thing that could come of all this — if he did it — is nothing. There has to be some punishment for this action. A suspension isn’t unemployment. There has to be rehabilitation. There has to be care on the part of the Dodgers for the victim and their player. Otherwise, nothing is going to change.

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If you or someone you know needs help, the National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 1-800-799-7233 or by visiting this website.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.