Free agent catcher Derek Norris, who started this season on the roster of the Tampa Bay Rays, has been suspended by MLB for the rest of the season under its domestic violence policy. Norris, 28, was investigated by MLB after a June Instagram post by his ex-girlfriend accused him of being physically and emotionally abusive.
In its ruling on the matter, MLB says Norris will be on the restricted list of the rest of the season but will be eligible to play again after the World Series. Here’s MLB’s full announcement:
Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. announced today that free agent catcher Derek Norris has been placed on the Restricted List, and will be ineligible to play Major League or Minor League Baseball or to sign a contract with a Major League organization, for the remainder of the 2017 season (including the Postseason), based on the results of the Office of the Commissioner’s investigation under Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. Norris will be reinstated from the Restricted List, and will be eligible to sign a contract with and to play for a Major League or Minor League Club, following the completion of the 2017 World Series. Norris has agreed not to appeal this discipline. Commissioner Manfred issued the following statement:
“My office has completed its investigation into the allegation that Derek Norris violated Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence Policy on October 21, 2015. Mr. Norris cooperated throughout the investigation, including submitting to an in-person interview with MLB’s Department of Investigations. After reviewing the evidence, I determined that Mr. Norris’s conduct warranted discipline under the Joint Domestic Violence Policy. While Mr. Norris denies the allegation against him, he and I have agreed that he will spend the remainder of the 2017 season away from the game and that he will forfeit $100,000 of his remaining termination pay from the Tampa Bay Rays, which will be donated by the Rays to one or more charitable organizations focused on preventing and treating survivors of domestic violence. The charitable organizations will be selected by the Commissioner’s Office and the Players Association.”
Norris was signed by the Rays as a free agent in March. Prior to that, he’d played two seasons for the Padres. He was traded from the Padres to the Nationals last December, but the Nats released him during spring training. He was an All-Star in 2014 with the Oakland Athletics, when he hit .270 with a .360 on-base percentage.
The Instagram post that prompted the MLB investigation came from Kristen Eck. This is the portion of what she wrote that pertains to Norris, emphasis ours.
Four years ago I went back to school to get my degree, shortly after, I moved across the country for love. Three years ago I was engaged. Two years ago I was planning a wedding. And one year ago I left the person I thought I was going to marry. I had beautiful moments with a man and I fell in love with a sense of humor and authentic soul that I wanted to spend my life with. I also was physically and emotionally abused by this beautiful man. He gave me a lifestyle most people only dreamed of, but it came at a price. I am forever thankful for the joy, love and laughter he shared with me. I am also forever grateful for the darkness I experienced. Because of that, today is more full of light than I would have ever expected. When I left I had $300 to my name, I had no access to money, I had no access to cars and was only given the courtesy to remove my items from our home. When I left, he and his family made sure I had nothing. But, that is far from true.
As MLB’s statement says, Norris denies these allegations.
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