Mr. Bradley Is Very Intimidating
April 9, 2015 2:39 PM   Subscribe

In the spring of 2003, Milton Bradley, a switch-hitting outfielder for the Indians, met his future wife, Monique Williams, a community relations intern with the team. He was about to turn 25. She was 22. Over the next decade—while the erratic, belligerent Bradley was given a pass by many MLB teams, media members and the sports culture at large—he and Williams would be locked in a cycle of emotional and physical abuse, separation and reconciliation, police intervention and court conflict. The Ray Rice elevator video, shocking as it was, captured only one moment. But a trove of public records shows the tragic extent of the Bradleys' violent relationship. This Is What Domestic Abuse Looks Like from Sports Illustrated [Trigger Warning; Graphic text and photos].
posted by chavenet (29 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
via: Wiki
On June 3, 2013, Bradley was convicted on nine counts of physically attacking and threatening his wife including four counts of spousal battery, two counts of criminal threats, one count of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of vandalism and one count of brandishing a deadly weapon. On July 2, 2013, he was sentenced to 7 years of probation, 960 days in the Los Angeles County Jail, and 400 hours of community service.[69] Half of the community service must be served coaching Little League baseball. The jail portion of Bradley's sentence has been stayed pending appeal. Just over two months later, on September 14, 2013, Monique Bradley passed away.[70] The cause of her death has not been made public.
posted by Fizz at 2:45 PM on April 9, 2015


Very typical. Those poor kids.

I wonder if his lawyers will sue over this piece?
posted by emjaybee at 3:05 PM on April 9, 2015


Why on Earth would anyone *let* this guy coach little league baseball, never mind require him to? Does Little League get a say in what kind of assholes the courts saddle them with?
posted by jacquilynne at 3:10 PM on April 9, 2015 [26 favorites]


holy shit.

.
posted by ghostbikes at 3:25 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


The cause of her death is in the article.
On Sept. 14, (2013) Monique Bradley died at Encino Hospital Medical Center. A death certificate dated Oct. 10 lists the causes as cryptogenic (i.e., of unknown origin) cirrhosis of the liver, hemorrhagic shock and cardiorespiratory arrest. She was 33.
MLB gave this man 8 chances and paid him 48 million dollars even though he kept losing his job because he was good at the batting part and atrocious at the team and people parts. That is a problem.
posted by gingerest at 3:25 PM on April 9, 2015 [10 favorites]


those poor children.
posted by Juliet Banana at 3:28 PM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've said it before and I'll say it again, for every Ray Rice and Milton Bradley that you hear about, there are 10 more that have this swept away by MLB/NFL/NBA team security.
posted by splen at 3:42 PM on April 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


I've said it before and I'll say it again, for every Ray Rice and Milton Bradley that you hear about, there are 10 more that have this swept away by MLB/NFL/NBA team security

Even if it comes to light, the media machine quickly spins it so it's not straight abuse but rather tough parenting due to how they were raised (Adrian Peterson). I can't remember where I read it but someone compared NFL arrest records and something like 50% of all police involvement was due to domestic violence. 50%, and that's what has come to light - how many people are not reporting?

Of course, this isn't to say that it's only the league's fault, Americans have notoriously short memory and as a Minnesota resident, often spin the story to justify to themselves why it isn't so bad (in AP's instance, it was tough parenting, Dallas will take him, etc.). The most common factor of this all though is what can the player produce, if they are at the top of their game, it tends to blow over and get forgiven alot faster then someone who isn't.

It's a sad cycle, but I would argue the blame doesn't lay solely with the league but rather with all of us. We condemn the abuse and turn right around to pay the team to see them live - money speaks the loudest.
posted by lpcxa0 at 3:52 PM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


God help those kids.
posted by johnnydummkopf at 3:58 PM on April 9, 2015


From page 2 of the linked article: "MICHELLE LIM: Let's talk about you not being a good husband. Describe why you're not a good husband.

BRADLEY: Because I don't have a good wife."

From Charlie Donaldson and Randy Flood, with Elaine Eldridge, Stop Hurting The Woman You Love: Breaking The Cycle of Abusive Behavior:
Blame occurs when an abusive man makes other people or conditions responsible for his behavior. Blame is the mirror that deflects a man's responsibility for his actions onto his partner, alcohol, work stress, or his temper. . . . If you refuse to accept accountability for your behavior, you will never be able to genuinely feel the effects of your abuse on your partner. If you cannot feel the pain, fear, and heartbreak your abuse causes her, you will never feel the need to be accountable for your behavior. Empathy and accountability are like links in a chain. If even one is weak or broken, the chain will fall apart. . . .
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:03 PM on April 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


Was her health issue related to his continual violence against her?

When it says the proceedings were dismissed numerous times, does that mean a judge dismissed them or that she decided to not proceed?
posted by sio42 at 4:04 PM on April 9, 2015


A terrible story, and one more should have had a role in stopping.

I remember reaching high to draft Milton Bradley in a fantasy baseball league because hey, best name in the game! Since I had him on my team I started paying attention to him even though he never played for a team I was local to.

It was amazing how he managed to have issues with every person he came across in baseball. He flashed amazing skills and tantalized, but the clashes always followed. Most of the coverage I read implied Bradley had problems with authority figures. The stories always seemed to focus on how he'd lash out at managers, umps, or coaches. There are plenty of hot headed players in baseball so it didn't seem too strange. Even driving away from the cops didn't seem to make too many headlines or raise hackles.

Then he threw a bottle in the stands and it seemed like he was going from 'hot headed' to 'looking for a fight every second.' Then the trades, the run-in with ump Mike Winters and it seemed like everything he touched was due to turn into a fight.

Lots of GM's and team mouthpieces talked about getting Milton help, but it seems no one did. Even after his fluke season in Texas and the Cubs looking foolish by giving him $30 million you'd think they'd have put him in structures to help him but it just threw gas on the fire.

Still, I can't recall a single story that dug too deep. I'm not sure I'd look to the MLBPA as a culprit here as much as the teams he played for. They either needed him to be good or had PR teams worth their $$$ to distract the press. There must have been a few attempts but I wonder if Bradley's take-no-prisoners approach made him less than attractive material for beat writers and the like. I have no problem seeing him threatening a writer over getting in his light, let alone asking questions about his personal life.
posted by boonerang at 4:10 PM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Batting average should not trump battering average, but baseball teams are big business and I'm not hopeful that they'll start caring about this kind of thing without a lot of pressure. Doesn't Congress oversee baseball? Couldn't we have some regulations about how much you can screw up off the field and keep working?
posted by uosuaq at 4:23 PM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


something like 50% of all police involvement was due to domestic violence

What's the corresponding number for large, physically intimidating but non-NFL playing men ages 22-30?
posted by Hatashran at 4:50 PM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


This story is troubling on two levels. One is the ongoing social willingness to overlook the suffering and abuse of violent men's families (wives and children) when they are very privileged or talented. But the other is that as with many perpetrators of domestic violence, Bradley is himself a very disturbed guy. A local sports columnist for a Seattle paper -- Bradley played here of course -- wrote pretty eloquently about that.

I've been involved in criminal cases involving sexual offenders and domestic violence offenders for a lot of years now. They do huge damage and they need to be held accountable. And their victims need safety, which they will only get when everyone else gives a damn about stopping what they are experiencing. But perpetrators are also often people who need help and treatment, too.
posted by bearwife at 5:02 PM on April 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


One of my biggest disappointments with the Brewers is that they keep bringing back pitcher Francisco Rodriguez (it's usually a bad sign when a player's personal life section on the Wikipedia has an area called "Incidents").
posted by drezdn at 5:12 PM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


It lead to this decent article: Francisco Rodriguez is a good pitcher whom the Brewers should not sign.
posted by drezdn at 5:14 PM on April 9, 2015


MLB gave this man 8 chances and paid him 48 million dollars even though he kept losing his job because he was good at the batting part and atrocious at the team and people parts. That is a problem.

In a sea of horror, one of the things that stood out to me was how several of the managers hiring him or reporters explicitly said he was what they "needed" or how much they wanted him, especially "His fiery attitude and, to a degree, his unpredictability is exactly what the Cubs need." That (from a reporter) is not just making excuses, it's actually making Milton Bradley's anger into a positive thing. How is anything going to improve if we celebrate people for being out of control? There are people who knew this was going on and justified hiring him or supporting him because he was good at baseball and hell, if his destructive behavior to women and children is part of that, it's ignorable collateral damage because his rage makes him a better player. That willingness to be destructive is "exactly what [we] need".

I respect the hell out of the reporter for including those sections because it's easy to shake our heads and say "wow, this guy was really troubled, what a shame" but those make it clear that this is a systemic issue that implicates all of us.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 5:24 PM on April 9, 2015 [11 favorites]


On Jan. 25, the restraining order expired, and Monique let Milton back into the family residence.

MONIQUE BRADLEY: Because I was still fearful for my physical safety, I hired a security guard to guard our home while Milton was present.

posted by Sauce Trough at 6:25 PM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Free pending a second appeal, Bradley has not spent a day in jail. He has sole custody of his children.

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posted by DarlingBri at 7:06 PM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Blame occurs when an abusive man makes other people or conditions responsible for his behavior. Blame is the mirror that deflects a man's responsibility for his actions onto his partner, alcohol, work stress, or his temper. . . .

See, if the bitch would just be perfect already, then everything would be fine, alright?!

Hah, no, because you can blame a woman just for existing in your vicinity, and punching bags are the best fun ever.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:51 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Any time somebody uses the word "female" as a noun, I know I can discount pretty much every word they say let's be honest—he says—after that. Right there in the first quote from Bradley, about seeing a "female" walking down.
posted by emelenjr at 9:03 PM on April 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


After reading all of that about him, I feel a bit apprehensive even commenting on this story. He sounds like the kind of person who gets his way. Must have been orders of magnitude worse for her.

I'm not sure if money was a factor here, but I'd be all for a welfare plan including massive support for newly-single parents. Give them not just a helping hand, but a rocket launcher to get back on their feet.
posted by mantecol at 10:00 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wonder how much he had to pay to have her killed.
posted by benzenedream at 10:13 PM on April 9, 2015


Oh shit I remember this guy from way back - because of his funny name and, yes, his tendency to get ejected from games. I had no idea he turned out like this.
posted by atoxyl at 11:50 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Any time somebody uses the word "female" as a noun, I know I can discount pretty much every word they say let's be honest—he says—after that. Right there in the first quote from Bradley, about seeing a "female" walking down.

This is probably actually unfair in this case - not unfair to him specifically perhaps - because it's a more common usage in Black speech and not necessarily the same as white nerds'"feeeeemales." I think, anyway - if I'm off base let me know but it's something I've noticed and heard other people talk about.
posted by atoxyl at 11:53 PM on April 9, 2015


I liked to say "females" when I was a kid - I'm a white nerd - because I found it far from clinical but rather, well, feminine and almost kinda sexy. But I learned other people do not see it that way - or appreciate always being referred to according my understanding of its implication either.
posted by atoxyl at 11:59 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


These abusers always try to sell the same old line— “I couldn’t help myself/you know how I get when I’m angry/why do you have to provoke me that way”. With Bradley, it seems like he made a career out of performing the same routine on the field.

But isn’t it just remarkable, how he’s able to control himself during a deposition! He speaks calmly, he makes corrections, he’s completely in charge of himself. Under that kind of stress, he’s cool as a cucumber.

And that means he can control himself, when he thinks it is important. (They all can.) I wonder how many times his wife saw it happen— him raging out when no one else was around, and him suddenly acting like a normal person if any witnesses (other than their children or her parents) were around. She knew that he certainly COULD control himself, when he chose to— but that pretending otherwise allowed him to instead control her.

Horrible, horrible, horrible.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 5:38 AM on April 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


.

I was really upset when the Cubs signed him. I thought he was a terrible person, and he turned out to be so much worse than I thought.

Those poor kids indeed.
posted by SisterHavana at 2:40 PM on April 10, 2015


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