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MLB, MLBPA reveal domestic violence policy

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have reached agreement on a landmark joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy, it was announced Friday.

"Major League Baseball and its Clubs are proud to adopt a comprehensive policy that reflects the gravity and the sensitivities of these significant societal issues," Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. "We believe that these efforts will foster not only an approach of education and prevention but also a united stance against these matters throughout our sport and our communities."

Added MLBPA executive director Tony Clark in a statement: "Players are husbands, fathers, sons and boyfriends. And as such want to set an example that makes clear that there is no place for domestic abuse in our society. We are hopeful that this new comprehensive, collectively-bargained policy will deter future violence, promote victim safety, and serve as a step toward a better understanding of the causes and consequences of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse."

In addition, the Commissioner's Office will implement additional policies to cover Minor League players, all employees of Major or Minor League clubs and MLB. The MLBPA will also implement an all-encompassing domestic policy for its staff.

The agreement is intended to provide a comprehensive policy addressing issues such as protecting the legal rights of players, treating violations seriously, holding players accountable through appropriate disciplinary measures and providing resources for the intervention and care of victims, families and the players themselves.

The terms of the agreement cover four main areas.

Treatment and Intervention:
A joint policy board, consisting of three experts in the field and two representatives each from the MLBPA and the Commissioner's Office has been established. The board is responsible for developing a treatment plan.

Players may be required to submit to psychological evaluations, attend counseling sessions, comply with court orders (including child support orders), relocate from a home shared with his partner, limit his interactions with his partner, relinquish all weapons, and other reasonable directives designed to promote the safety of the player's partner, children, or victims.

Players who fail to comply are subject to discipline from the Commissioner. All information is to be kept confidential.

The Commissisoner's Office will invesigate all allegations of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse involving members of the baseball community. The Commissioner may place an accused player on paid administrative leave for up to seven days while allegations are investigated. Players may challenge any decision before the arbitration panel.

The Commissioner will decide on appropriate discipline, with no minimum or maximum penalty under the policy. Players may challenge such decisions to the arbitration panel.

Training, Education and Resources:
All players will be provided education about domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse in both English and Spanish at regular intervals. Resources to players' families -- including referral information, websites, hotline numbers and outreach facilities -- will be made available, along with a confidential 24-hour helpline.

An annual program of community outreach will be developed. It may include public service announcements featuring players, domestic violence awareness days at ballparks and other activities designed to spread awareness on the issues.

Paul Hagen is a reporter for