Perhaps we should have expected this at some point, but former(?) Atlanta Braves outfielder Marcell Ozuna has started speaking out about his arrest.
It has been nearly one month since the Atlanta Braves found out that their injured left fielder was arrested by Sandy Springs (GA) police on a charge of felony domestic violence, and for the first time, Marcell Ozuna is speaking to the media.
It’s quite the interesting tale.
That’s pretty bold… particularly as the police as the ones charging him with the felony after witnessing the behavior alleged in the arrest warrant.
Ozuna didn’t stop there, denying that the incident even happened:
Ozuna went on to say that he’s now rehabbing the injury to his hand in which 2 fingers were dislocated and/or broken (depending on your interpretation) during his last game with the Braves. You may recall that this occurred during an ill-fated slide into third base against the Red Sox.
Marcell’s wife Genesis is also getting into this rehab effort — the one attempting to rehabilitate perceptions of her husband, that is. Witness this Father’s Day photo with their children that she appears to have posted:
What to Make of This?
The cynical view is that the Ozunas have put cooler heads together and realized that they have close to 60 million reasons to launch a strong public relations campaign in the face of the serious charges pending.
The non-cynical view would be… well, there probably isn’t such a viewpoint, actually. Especially given that we hadn’t heard anything from him for very nearly a month until these crafted statements today.
Whether Genesis chooses to cooperate with the investigation or not, Georgia law will require prosecutors to pursue this case against her husband.
The reality the family faces is thus still laid out fairly clearly:
- Police were called to the scene at the time, indicating that someone believed there was a serious threat worthy of intervention
- The police will have bodycam footage of what they believe they saw happening right in front of them
- The case will then likely come down to a jury’s interpretation of that video footage.
There’s still a sequence of events that will have to play out. Law enforcement has to present their findings to the prosecutors. The prosecutors will then go through their own fact-finding interviews. All of this will probably run through the end of the calendar year. A trial might be expected next Spring (all of these time periods are estimates).
MLB will also conduct its own investigation. When Ozuna is healed sufficiently to be deemed ready to play again, it is almost certain that he will be placed onto the Restricted List to prevent that from happening — even for attending rehab games in the minors.
Given the criminal proceedings, MLB will be in no rush to apply any penalties they may see fit to apply to Ozuna… which could happen whether he’s eventually exonerated of the charges or not.
Regardless, this interview suggests that Ozuna is definitely coming out on the offensive to fight the charges in any way he can… and arguably producing an offensive front to a degree much greater than he ever did with the team this season.
It’s a bold strategy… and somehow it doesn’t seem likely that he’s going to keep quiet during the rest of the season, either. So pass the popcorn: this whole sordid episode just got murkier.