Jose Reyes, who last played for the Mets in 2011, returned to the Mets starting lineup July 5. He was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence after an alleged altercation with his wife during October, 2015. The charges were eventually dropped after his wife would not cooperate with police, according to multiple reports. MLB found enough evidence to suspend him for 52 games, which he finished serving in early June. The Mets signed him to a minor-league contract paying him the league minimum.
In the days since talk of a Mets reunion with Jose Reyes began to gain momentum, I've been forced to think about the line I'm willing to cross to root for a professional athlete.
I have witnessed the devastation caused by domestic violence, from both a personal and an academic standpoint. It is one of the most pervasive forms of violence in this country, yet also one of the least understood. It seems hard to imagine that a person would stay in a relationship built on a foundation of abuse, but the sad fact is that it happens every day.
Reyes was initially charged after an alleged altercation with his wife, Katherine Ramirez, last October. She was treated at a local hospital for injuries consistent with the reported allegations that he held her by the throat and threw her into a glass door. However, charges against him were eventually dropped after his wife would not cooperate with police, according to multiple reports.
There are many common, rational reasons that people make the same choice as Ramirez, which is to not assist in a criminal investigation into her husband. To learn more, I urge you to read about them here. Nevertheless, MLB found enough evidence to suspend Reyes for 52 games.
Reyes always seemed friendly and nice, when talking to the media. But, the fact is that seemingly friendly and nice people are abusive as often as anyone else. That's a big part of why domestic violence is so insidious - until we witness it firsthand, it can be impossible to believe we could be so wrong about a person.
Many people, including Reyes, have called the events of that night a "mistake," but domestic violence is a choice. And, if the allegations are true, it is a choice Reyes made. Most people deserve second chances, but no one is obligated to personally give it to them. If I ran a baseball team, this choice would be over my line.
I'm hurt and saddened that my team is the one to give him this chance. I'm hurt and saddened that once again, domestic violence is written off as a "private matter," that it will be forgotten, that the only consequence Reyes has experienced as a result of his choice is a two-month vacation and a return to the team he loves.
I don't know what comes next for me and the Mets. I love this team and always will, but I can't imagine being surrounded by a stadium of people chanting the name of a man that represents to me so much that is broken in how society conceives of domestic violence. All I know is that I can't cheer for a person who allegedly beat their partner. Not now, and not ever.
I don't believe anyone else must feel the same way I do. But, I do hope others respect my opinion as I respect theirs.
My view of Jose Reyes is tainted. I don't see him the same way I did before last October, when he was accused of misdemeanor domestic violence. However, he served the 50-game suspension issued to him by MLB and his wife and kids are standing by him. He's wearing a Mets uniform. I'm a Mets fan. And, if his wife, the Mets and his former teammate, David Wright, are all willing to give him a second chance, I'm willing to do the same.
"I feel like what he did was awful, terrible, there's just no other way around it," said Wright, who played alongside Reyes for seven seasons. "That being said, in my eyes, he's done what he could do to earn a second chance. If he's going to be given a second chance, I think this is a good place for it. I think he's comfortable here. This is home for him."
I'm not in favor of signing every available player with a checkered past. However, like Wright said, with Jose, it is different. The Mets know him best. They signed him when he was 16 years old. I know from people close to him that he's never lost his admiration, love and respect for the franchise. He continued to have a home on Long Island, decorated with Mets memorable, long after he left for the Marlins. If there is any management team, any front office, any group of players who will work with Reyes to be sure he's on the right path, it's here, in New York, surrounded by friends and family.
"I know some people out there, a lot of people, are going to be hard on me and I respect that," Reyes said last week. "I understand I put myself in that situation. It was a terrible mistake."
In the end, I'm just one fan. I can't sign or trade players, and I can't fill out the lineup. The only thing I can do is continue to root for the Mets, hope Jose knows what he did is wrong and trust that he'll never do it again.