Baseball Challenged by Social Media Accusations of Domestic Violence

Article here. Excerpt:

'When Major League Baseball began two domestic-violence investigations last month, allegations against Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell and Tampa Bay Rays catcher Derek Norris did not come from the usual source — a police report, or video, or court testimony.

Instead, they came from social media.

But little consideration was given to the role that social media — rather than law enforcement — might play in bringing potential domestic violence cases to light, according to a person in baseball familiar with the drafting of the agreement who was not authorized to speak publicly about it.

Kristen Eck, Norris’s former fiancée, wrote on Instagram that she had been physically and verbally abused by Norris in 2015. And after Russell’s wife, Melisa, wrote on Instagram that Russell had cheated on her, a friend of Melisa Russell’s posted that Addison Russell had hit his wife in front of his two young children.

Norris, who has since been waived by the Rays, and Russell have denied accusations of abuse. Pat Courtney, an M.L.B. spokesman, confirmed that the league was investigating both cases but declined to say more.'

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These baseball players are really anymen. Any man, be he in a position of public trust or a position inviting publicity, or really just an ordinary man, is one accusation, false or not, on social media of an offense against a woman or child, from h@ving his life upended.

In the old days, talking this way about someone relied on literal hearsay and was limited just to those you could talk to and those they could talk to. And so on, until the process burned itself out. Even so, it could do a great deal of unwarranted damage. This is why slander is illegal. Libel is worse because it is propagated in written form and so can naturally last longer. Now with social media/the Google cache, anything posted on-line about a person lives a much longer time.

It's one thing to post something stupid on-line yourself and get called out for it. Even if you take it down, it lives on in the Google cache and in any screen caps anyone took of it. But really, you have only yourself to blame. After all, you posted it. But accusations of law-breaking/moral perfidy made about you by someone else -- different, esp if they produce no examinable evidence.

I think in the age of social media, caveat emptor. Buy only what makes sense and don't presume guilt. Sadly, even coming from MSM outlets, one can neither presume truth nor honest intent from them. If someone sincerely thinks either of these baseball players is genuinely guilty of a crime, the people to see are the police. Posting their accusations on-line like this only serves as the basis of a libel case.

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