David Ortiz Feels ‘So Bad’ for MLB Players Accused of Domestic Abuse

Do better, Papi.

Women comprise a little more than half of Boston’s population. And given the Hub’s reputation as the greatest sports town in America, it isn’t a terrible leap to assume a fair amount are fans of the city’s sports teams. How crushing it must be then, when Boston’s sports heroes won’t condemn domestic abuse.

Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, preparing for his final season, told USA Today that one of his proudest accomplishments was his sterling off-field conduct. No arrest or otherwise embarrassing incident besmirches his nearly two decades in the league. He never sought to be a role model, but instead tried to “do the right things.”

“I tried to avoid things my entire career. There were always a lot of things that can happen, but you avoid things,” he said. “That’s why I feel bad now, you’re seeing a lot of these guys get into trouble, like domestic violence.”

Major League Baseball, much like the other major North American leagues do in varying degrees, has a domestic abuse problem. Soon, we will see how Commissioner Rob Manfred will contrast his handling of several high-profile cases with the NFL’s prolific botch-jobs, for which Commissioner Roger Goodell took home a cool $34.1 million paycheck. Manfred will issue rulings in at least two of three cases involving Aroldis Chapman of the New York Yankees, Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Jose Reyes of the Colorado Rockies, who was the only one arrested and charged.

“These are good guys, I feel so bad for them I know Jose well. Jose is not a trouble maker. He’s a good guy,” Ortiz said of Reyes, who allegedly grabbed his wife’s throat and slammed her into sliding glass door on Halloween. “That’s not the Jose I know. He’s a good kid. But people are going crazy and want to judge him.”

Is it so much to ask for Boston’s sports stars, who occupy a wholly different stratum of celebrity here, to speak out against violence against women?

On WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan last November, following the release of gruesome photos depicting Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy’s battered ex-girlfriend, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was given the opportunity to condemn Hardy’s disreputable conduct and, in turn, the league’s problem with domestic violence. It was a layup. Brady passed.

Friendships aside, Ortiz could’ve used his standing as the face of the Red Sox organization to make a powerful statement. Instead, Papi left his female fans stranded.