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Archive for Friday, June 30, 2006

Myers, Phillies should be sorry

Pitcher, team did terrible job handling abuse accusation

June 30, 2006

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Brett Myers is sorry. Really sorry. Really, really sorry.

We know this because he had his agent send a statement saying he was.

He's sorry that he embarrassed himself and his family. Sorry that the Philadelphia Phillies might get distracted from a season going nowhere.

So sorry that he's taking some time off to think about it all.

Interesting, because before that the only thing Myers was sorry about was that people were making such a big deal over his arrest for allegedly punching his wife.

"I'm sorry it had to go public," Myers said the other day.

Yeah, it's better to keep those domestic violence things private. It can be so inconvenient otherwise.

Memo to Myers: Next time you feel like dragging your wife around by the hair and beating her on the face, as witnesses said you did, do it at home, not on a Boston street corner with people around.

Baseball fans are by and large a tolerant lot. They've watched the game ruined by steroid use and the greed of both players and owners, yet still come to the ballpark in record numbers.

But they draw the line at guys accused of beating their wives. That's why Myers was booed Saturday in Boston when he pitched despite his arrest a day earlier, and why he likely would have even been booed at home if he had not taken a leave of absence.

The fans get it, but unfortunately the Phillies didn't. They were going to keep trotting their best pitcher out to the mound every five days even as the uproar built in Philadelphia over his arrest.

Now it turns out the Phillies are sorry, too.

Sorry that they're being taken to task for not speaking out sooner. Sorry that the club is being portrayed as indifferent to domestic violence.

We know this because Phillies president David Montgomery finally broke days of silence to say so. He issued a statement of his own saying how tough it was to balance everyone's rights without getting it all wrong.

Yeah, it's tough. But so is getting hit in the head by someone twice your size.

That's what witnesses said happened early Friday when a number of them called 911 to report there was a large man - Myers is 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds - dragging a woman by the hair and hitting her in the face.

"I watched him just haul off and smack her in the face," witness Sly Egidio told the Boston Globe. "This was violent. This was wrong."

Boston police found a sobbing Kim Myers sitting on a sidewalk, the left side of her face swollen. Myers told officers her husband - the Phillies' press guide says he was an amateur boxer up to the age of 13 - hit her twice in the face with his fist.

Myers didn't seem to think it was a big deal at first. Baseball players are used to having everything taken care of for them, and he probably thought someone would take care of this, too.

He went ahead with his regular start, and it wasn't until Tuesday that he issued a statement acknowledging that his conduct was "inappropriate." At the same time, he said he was sorry for any embarrassment he caused anyone.

It was, no doubt, embarrassing for Kim Myers. It also had to be embarrassing to have to bail out your husband after he allegedly hit you, and even more embarrassing to walk around with a bruised and swollen face.

If it's any consolation, she's not alone. Advocates for battered women say one in every three or four women will be the victim of domestic violence at some time in their lives, and that those doing the battering tend to do it again and again.

"It doesn't end unless the person perpetrating the crime gets help and is held accountable," said Esta Soler, president and founder of the Family Violence Prevention Fund.

The Phillies certainly weren't going to do that.

This seems to be the norm lately for baseball teams. Dmitri Young is now working out and getting ready to rejoin the Detroit Tigers after pleading no contest to a domestic violence charge. He allegedly choked a 21-year-old woman in a suburban Detroit hotel two months ago.

Throw at a batter or charge the mound, and you'll get suspended. Slug your wife or choke a woman and, hey, we'll let the courts deal with it.

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