May 20, 2022 - Sports

The Trevor Bauer case looms over MLB and NFL

Trevor Bauer.
Photo: Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

Trevor Bauer's arbitration hearing regarding his unprecedented two-year suspension under MLB's domestic violence policy begins Monday.

Why it matters: The outcome will be seismic for MLB and Bauer's career and could impact the NFL as it continues navigating the Deshaun Watson saga.

Catch up quick: Bauer last pitched on June 28, 2021. Sexual assault allegations against him surfaced two days later and MLB promptly placed him on paid administrative leave.

  • Bauer's accuser alleged that he assaulted her during two consensual sexual encounters. He doesn't deny the encounters but argues his accuser explicitly requested via text that he choke and slap her.
  • Another report surfaced in August 2021 regarding a different woman who'd previously leveled similar accusations against Bauer. As MLB's investigation continued, the league repeatedly extended Bauer's paid leave.
  • Three weeks ago, MLB finally announced its decision: a 324-game suspension without pay (two seasons), the longest ever under the league's seven-year-old domestic violence policy. That same day, a third woman came forward.
  • Bauer, who has denied any wrongdoing and stands to lose roughly $60 million, appealed the punishment, becoming the first player to do so under the policy. Now an arbitrator will determine if his punishment stands or will be reduced.

The big picture: The outcome of Bauer's arbitration could inform how the NFL handles Watson's punishment in the wake of a similar scandal. Both athletes were accused of sexual assault by multiple women but never charged criminally.

The bottom line: MLB's domestic violence policy was widely viewed as a response to the NFL's Ray Rice incident. Seven years later, it may be the NFL following MLB's lead.

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