The Yankees (and the Rays) made good trouble on social media Thursday night. The teams’ respective communications teams announced prior to first pitch they would not tweet about the game (a 7-2 Yankees win).
The teams instead offered facts about gun violence in the wake of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, earlier this week. Twenty-one people were killed, including 19 children. The shooting comes on the heels of the recent supermarket shooting in Buffalo and shootings in “countless other communities across our nation.”
It was an admirable tact. The Yankees’ series of tweets began with a jarring message: “Every day, more than 110 Americans are killed with guns, and more than 200 are shot and injured,” and continued from there. Every tweet was tagged with accompanying data to confirm its validity. It was a somber mission handled with care, staying above the fray while a bunch of bots and trolls attacked in the mentions. And then the tweet below was sent.
About 4.5 million women in the US today report having been threatened with a gun by an intimate partner.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) May 27, 2022
That is a horrifying reality. But it also speaks to how complicated this ongoing discourse is.
The Yankees have employed Aroldis Chapman as their closer for seven seasons now, save parts of 2016 when he was with the Cubs. They have traded for Chapman, they have traded him and they have re-signed him, twice. They have paid him millions of dollars, including a scheduled $18 million this year, and have stuck with him despite diminishing on-field performance.
And the Yankees have done all of this after Chapman was accused of firing a gun and choking his then-girlfriend during a domestic violence incident in December 2015. An incident that occurred when he was still a member of the Reds and before the Yankees acquired him.
Charges were never filed and Chapman denied choking the alleged victim. But he did admit to and apologize for his use of a firearm during the incident. And he did serve a 30-game suspension from Major League Baseball for his actions.
This is not to say the Yankees should not employ Chapman, or that he does not deserve to make a living. The onus in this situation also does not fall on the team’s PR staff; this is a matter that owner Hal Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman need to take accountability for.
No one should criticize those who work for the Yankees and put together these tweets. They just conveyed important facts. And one was a reminder few are infallible when it comes to this scourge our society must again grapple with.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]