• Emily Rollo

Trevor Bauer Update: No Criminal Charges but an MLB Suspension May Still Loom


This article is an update to Emily Rollo's 2021 article addressing allegations against Trevor Bauer.

Trevor Bauer’s career was left in the hands of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office and the Major League Baseball Commissioner following the release of allegations against him for sexual assault in July 2021. Last September, Bauer received the first glimpse of good news when the Los Angeles Superior Court denied the prosecution's proposed restraining order. MLB Commissioner, Rob Manfred, continued to place Bauer on administrative leave during the ongoing investigation.


Five months later in February 2022, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office announced that Bauer will not face criminal charges.[1] Bauer no longer has criminal punishment looming. However, he still has not been given the green light to return to the mound.


Typically, a decision not to bring charges would allow an accused person to return to his “normal” life and feel a sense of relief. However, as a professional baseball player, the criminal decision means little to nothing for Bauer’s career and his normal lifestyle as an athlete. As Commissioner, Manfred retains the right to suspend Bauer for any amount of time.[2]


The MLB’s domestic violence policy has a much lower liability threshold than state and federal laws. The policy does not require criminal charges or sanction(s) against an athlete in order for the MLB to discipline him.[3] In fact, in the seven years since the inception of the policy, 14 players have been suspended for violations, most of whom were never criminally charged.[4] Some cases never even involved law enforcement at all.[5]


Bauer broke his silence on the matter for the first time since June of 2021 immediately following the DA’s announcement that charges would not be filed. He recorded a video statement from his practice facility and declared the “truth.”[6] While he admitted that the sexual encounters with his accuser were “rough,” he went on to describe that they were all consensual.[7] There was a sense of relief in Bauer’s statement, but there was also a sense of frustration. When the District Attorney’s office announced there would be no criminal charges against Bauer, Manfred immediately released a statement announcing that the MLB’s investigation into Bauer’s conduct would continue and the league would make at a decision at an appropriate time.[8]


Unfortunately for Bauer, there are several factors suggesting that he will be suspended for at least part of the upcoming season even though he faces no criminal charges. First, Manfred’s history of handling domestic violence cases does not indicate he will take Bauer’s case lightly. Second, the MLB’s current lockout and collective bargaining negotiations are far more pressing than Bauer’s return to the mound.


Finally, Bauer and Manfred do not have a friendly history. In June 2020, Bauer inked a series of tweets calling out Manfred’s lack of motivation and confidence in having a baseball season during the pandemic.[9] He accused the commissioner of making comments as a delay tactic so he would not receive as much backlash for instituting a shortened season.[10] On prior occasions, Bauer also publicly criticized Manfred’s decisions in negotiations with the MLBPA.[11]


There is currently extreme tension between Manfred and all MLB players as the lockout imposed by the owners is still in effect and the first day of spring training has come and gone without a new collective bargaining agreement. Spring training may be in peril, but there is hope for a 2022 MLB season. Unlike his fellow players, Bauer's fate lies in the hands of Manfred and if past punishments under the domestic violence policy are any indication, Bauer likely won't be stepping foot on the mound anytime soon.




References:

[1] Shaikin, B. and Winton, R. (Feb. 8, 2022). Trevor Bauer Will Not Face Criminal Charges Following Sexual Assault Allegation. Retrieved from www.latimes.com/sports/dodgers/story/2022-02-08/trevor-bauer-will-not-face-criminal-charges-following-sexual-assault-allegation

[2] Hagen, P. (Aug. 21, 2015). MLB, MLBPA Reveal Domestic Violence Policy. Retrieved from www.mlb.com/news/mlb-mlbpa-agree-on-domestic-violence-policy/c-144508842

[3] Id.

[4] Ardaya, F. (Aug. 20, 2021). What the Trevor Bauer Decision Means and What Could Come Next for the Dodgers. Retrieved from www.theathletic.com/2781998/2021/08/20/what-the-trevor-bauer-decision-means-and-what-could-come-next-for-the-dodgers/#

[5] Id.

[6] Ardaya, F. (Feb. 8, 2022). Statement from Trevor Bauer, as he stated in a 7-minute video here: youtu.be/GWf4vceSpXs. Retrieved from www.twitter.com/FabianArdaya/status/1491173923102199812

[7] Id.

[8] Anderson, R.J. (Feb. 8, 2022). Trevor Bauer Won’t Face Criminal Charges After Assault Allegations, Per Report; MLB Investigation Continues. Retrieved from www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/mlb-lockout-timeline-of-cba-negotiations-between-mlbpa-and-owners-as-two-sides-start-critical-week/

[9] Polacek, S. (Jun. 15, 2020). Trevor Bauer Calls Out Rob Manfred After MLB Commish Casts Doubt on 2020 Season. Retrieved from www.bleacherreport.com/articles/2896314-trevor-bauer-calls-out-rob-manfred-after-mlb-commish-casts-doubt-on-2020-season

[10] Id.

[11] Id.