Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman has been on a 30-day suspension for violation of MLB’s Domestic Violence policy. Commissioner Manfred found cause to suspend Chapman for the violation despite the fact that he was not prosecuted for his actions by the legal authority with jurisdiction in Florida where the incident occurred. Chapman accepted the determination and has been serving his suspension.
What has the pitcher been doing with his spare time this spring? Well, one thing is that on April 29th he became a US citizen. Chapman took the citizenship oath that day, and posted the above pic to his Instagram account to celebrate.
Interestingly, in order to obtain citizenship in the US, an applicant must be of “good moral character” — that is not a dangerous criminal or threat to the public good. One of the categories of crimes that permanently bars one from gaining citizenship is violence that results in imprisonment for more than one year. Would a domestic violence conviction qualify? Only if it was for a felony — the penalties for which include more than a year of jail time. An arrest for misdemeanor assault (like Hector Olivera’s recent one) wouldn’t be sufficient to bar anyone from citizenship. So, Chapman can be suspended from playing for pushing and/or intimidating his girlfriend and terrorizing her by shooting his gun off, but that in no way will prohibit him from enjoying the rights and privileges of being a naturalized Stater (vote Trump!).
More importantly, now that Chapman has citizenship status, he cannot be deported even if he commits a violent felony in the future. Hopefully, Chapman’s behavior never escalates to that — or even better, he learns his lesson and gets help to manage his anger and violent urges. For now, though, he’s just a small-time abuser, and that’s okay with us! Welcome to America.