Even though the person who accused Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera of assault has stopped cooperating with prosecutors, Major League Baseball (MLB) still decided to suspend him without pay for the rest of the season.
The decision will cost Herrera over $2.5 million, and illustrates the employment consequences that even an accusation of domestic violence can have on someone.
Philadelphia Phillies Outfielder Accused of Assault and Domestic Violence
We have covered the situation earlier in our blog.
Phillies centerfielder Odubel Herrera was arrested for assault and domestic violence back in New Jersey back in May over Memorial Day weekend. Police had responded to a casino to find his girlfriend with “visible signs of injury to her arms and neck.” She said Herrera had assaulted her.
Herrera was put on paid leave by MLB according to the league's domestic violence policy.
Recently, the criminal charges against Herrera were dismissed by prosecutors because Herrera's accuser had stopped cooperating with law enforcement. Without her cooperation, the prosecutor's case was so weakened that they agreed to drop the charges against Herrera if he completed 60 days of counseling.
Despite Dropped Charges, MLB Still Suspends Herrera for the Season
Soon after the criminal charges were dropped, though, the MLB decided to suspend Herrera for the duration of the 2019 season. According to the MLB, Herrera violated the league's employment policy that prohibited domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse.
The conflicting decisions rest largely on the fact that convictions for the criminal charges of domestic violence and assault would have had to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Suspensions for violations of MLB's domestic violence policy, on the other hand, only have to be supported by “just cause” – a far lower standard.
The Costs of a Mere Accusation
The suspension ends Herrera's 2019 season. It also applies retroactively to June 24, meaning it will cover 85 of 2019's 162 regular season games, as well as any postseason games the Phillies play this year. Herrera was set to make $5.35 million in 2019, so the suspension likely cost him $2.81 million.
Perhaps worse, even though there was no criminal conviction or even a plea deal, the suspension puts a serious blemish on Herrera's conduct file with the MLB – something that can hurt his professional future. He will also lose more than half of his age-27 season – one directly in the middle of a baseball player's prime – and will be left unable to salvage a poor performance on the field, so far.
Altogether, the professional repercussions of a mere accusation of domestic violence could easily end up costing Herrera more than $10 million in the long run as he struggles from the fallout of the suspension.
Joseph D. Lento: Criminal Defense in Philadelphia
Odubel Herrera's plight is a prime example of how a criminal accusation can lead to serious consequences, even if the criminal charge is beaten in court. Fighting against these collateral consequences of an accusation is a part of the criminal defense services that Joseph D. Lento provides.