According to multiple sources, Atlanta Braves outfielder Marcell Ozuna was arrested in connection with a domestic violence incident this afternoon.
The news about Ozuna’s arrest is trickling out from various twitter sources — this one being the early, though non-definitive report.
Since then, we have been able to confirm reports of the arrest contained in a separate tweet via the jail records search from Fulton County, GA. Numerous media outlets are now on board with this information as well.
The report from the arrest from the Fulton County website is as follows:
- Marcell Idelfonso Ozuna was arrested by the Sandy Springs Police on Saturday, May 29, 2021. His booking number is 2107044.
- Two arrest warrants were exercised:
- one for “Aggravated Assault Strangulation”
- the second is described as “Battery – Family Violence (1st Offense) Misd (that presumably indicating ‘misdemeanor’, though the ‘Aggravated Assault’ element of the prior warrant suggests a felony offense.
- The other information contained in the search results is consistent with Ozuna’s physical description.
- FOX 5 Atlanta news has tweeted his mugshot.
And here is the report from the Police Department, which sounds terrible:
It is evident that Ozuna and his wife have had an… interesting relationship in recent years.
Last June, she was arrested and charged with domestic battery after “allegedly [hitting] him with a soap dish”, an incident that caused a facial injury. The story on the subject reports that she was given a “stay away order” after pleading not guilty.
Details are still sketchy
Because of the prior arrest of his wife and lack of any statements thus far from either Ozuna or his representatives, it is difficult to assess how this might proceed. There are some questions that might need to be answered, though:
- Ozuna’s left hand is now in a cast. The act of a “strangulation” might still be possible with a single hand, though it’s a fair question about why that method of violence was apparently chosen (he is right-handed).
- We assume that his wife is involved again, though that’s not definitively known. If so, we don’t know about the status of that “stay away” order.
- Whether charges “stick” or not, major league baseball will definitely swoop in and perform their own investigation. They have the ability to issue punishment in terms of lengthy suspensions regardless of the disposition of any criminal or civil proceedings.
Implications to the Atlanta Braves
The Braves were already going to be without the services of Ozuna for the next 6-10 weeks (depending on speed of healing and rehab game requirements). It is almost certain now that this period will be a lot longer.
Just prior to the opening of Spring Training, the Braves and Ozuna agreed on a 4 year contract valued at $65 million, with an option for the 2025 season.
It’s a back-loaded deal paying him $12 million this season, $16 million in 2022, and $18 million for the two seasons after that. The 2025 option is for $16 million with a $1 million buyout.
NOTE: The discussion that follows is written with the assumption of some sort of guilt on Ozuna’s part. It is for the sake of answering the “what if?” questions; however, it is not for the sake of passing judgment of any kind.
Atlanta will continue to be obligated to pay Ozuna during his injury time, and likely also for whatever period of time occurs between his ability to return action and the completion of MLB’s investigation.
If there is a suspension announced, the checks stop for the duration of that suspension. Beyond things get a bit murky.
If there are formal charges levied, the severity of those charges will matter. Misdemeanors likely keep his contract in force — and would cause a lot of hand-wringing over at Liberty Media. A felony conviction could allow the Braves to escape the contract. That’s almost certainly a longshot, given the history and the lack of a record of prior violence.
In 2016, shortstop Jose Reyes was released by the Colorado Rockies following reinstatement from the restricted list once his suspension was completed. The Rockies ended up being another victim in his own domestic violence behavior, having pay roughly $39 million to make him go away.
After this season, Ozuna will still be owed $53 million.
UPDATE: the Atlanta Braves have issued a statement:
From the tweet, it reads as follows:
"“We learned of Marcell Ozuna’s arrest earlier this evening and immediately informed the Commissioner’s Office. The Braves fully support Major League Baseball’s policy on domestic violence which stresses to the fullest that our society cannot and will not tolerate domestic violence in any form. Until the investigation is completed, we will have no further comment and all inquires into the matter should be referred to the Office of the Commissioner.”"
More information certainly is expected in the coming days.