Chouinard Gives Up Another Hit

Typically, I try to keep this column light and loose but I have to make an exception in this case. For those who have not followed the developments, this is supposedly how the story unfolded. On Christmas, Bobby Chouinard and his wife were at a friend’s house. Bobby had been drinking when they ran out of beer. He asked his wife to go out and get more beer. She stated that he had been drinking enough and refused. Later when the couple returned home, they began to fight over his wife’s refusal to get alcohol. The argument escalated to a point where Chouinard grabbed his wife by the neck and choked her in front of their 17 month-old son. After attempting to strangle her, Bobby hit his wife across the face. He then took his son to bed. During this time, Chouinard’s wife tried to call 911. Bobby returned to find his wife on the phone and tore the phone from the wall telling her now she was going to pay. He went to the bedroom and retrieved a pistol pointing it at his head. His wife pleaded with him. He then turned the gun on her. She knelt before him and begged him not to shoot. He unloaded the gun and told his wife to get out. At this point the police arrived and arrested Chouinard.

Reading the police account, you have to wonder what snapped in this 26 year-old’s head to decide it is socially acceptable to strike his spouse and threaten her life with a loaded pistol. Here is a kid who last season got his first big break in the major leagues to show that he could pitch. Although he ran into trouble during the play-offs, overall his performance gave him a legitimate shot at making the team this spring. In a matter of a few hours, he went from a promising career playing baseball to facing assault charges with the real possibility of spending 5 to 15 years of his life in prison. His actions have obviously caused a public relations nightmare for the team. For the past three years, the Diamondbacks organization has stressed the importance of good character. Now they are faced with one of their players being labeled a spousal abuser. I would bet his once bright career with the Arizona Diamondbacks is over. The team will attempt to trade him getting anything in return. If they are unsuccessful in their efforts, he will undoubtedly be released from the team.

The Arizona Diamondbacks should make Bobby Chouinard an example to others that the team will not tolerate off-field behavior that is detrimental to society. If sports franchises would take this step, perhaps we would see fewer of these incidents. Chouinard is one of a growing number of sports figures who have run into legal problems. The list continues to grow because we as a culture condone this behavior. Sure, we are each outraged when we hear these stories, but after paying a fine or serving a minor disciplinary suspension, these players return to the field. We as fans cheer them as they take the mound or come up to bat. Soon everything is forgotten until the next arrest or police report. Professional baseball turns their head and looks the other way when a player strikes his wife or is convicted of drug abuse. If a player is found to be gambling, he is banished from baseball for life. This seems to contradict common sense. The values and ethics of sports should be reevaluated to better align with behavior that society deems acceptable. Like it or not, these players and teams are role models and should be held accountable for their actions. Punishment should be given that matches that of society. If you or I committed the same type of infraction, we would be severely and rightfully punished. It is hard to believe. A career and two lives forever changed over a six-pack of beer.

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