Cubs, Addison Russell react to domestic-violence accusation
Addison Russell released a short statement Thursday regarding domestic violence allegations made against him on social media.
“Any allegation I have abused my wife is false and hurtful,” said Russell. “For the well-being of my family, I’ll have no further comment.”
Russell’s statement comes after the Chicago Sun-Times first reported that Major League Baseball plans to investigate the domestic violence allegations made against the Cubs shortstop.
Russell was not listed in the starting lineup for the Cubs’ game Thursday night against the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field, and was not even in uniform. The Cubs released the following statement:
“Last night, we were made aware of a serious claim posted on social media about Addison Russell. We reached out to Major League Baseball and, following the protocol established by MLB, will fully cooperate with the commissioner’s office as it gathers pertinent facts. Addison will not be in uniform tonight to allow him to work through this matter.”
Russell’s wife, Melisa, suggested in multiple posts late Wednesday the couple was breaking up after one year of marriage.
In one deleted Instagram post Melisa wrote: “Being free to be able to make your own choices for your own happiness beats being cheated on, lied to, & disrespected any day.”
In a subsequent comment related to one of the posts, a woman Russell’s wife referred to as a close friend, accused him of “mentally and physically abusing her.”
MLB is investigating based on the posts and is expected to try to interview both the wife and the friend under its 2-year-old domestic violence policy.
Any potential penalties are at the discretion of the commissioner’s office on a case-by-case basis under the policy.
Former Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman, for example, served a 30-day suspension last year before the Cubs acquired him from the Yankees, despite charges being dropped by authorities after a police investigation in Florida. That case involved a gun and 911 call.
A team official said the club is looking into the allegation but has no comment at this time. Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said there is no active CPD investigation at this time.
Third baseman Kris Bryant was Russell’s first teammate to weigh in on the allegations. He told 670 the Score on Thursday that he was caught off guard by the allegations and said it’s something that Russell will have to handle.
Speaking with reporters later in the clubhouse, Bryant said: “It’s a tough situation. … There’s a lot more important things than baseball.
“Addie’s going to find a way to handle it. We’re all going to learn from it and hopefully be better for it. I don’t have a ton to comment on it. … It’s unfortunate.”
Said first baseman Anthony Rizzo: “I think it’s way too early to jump to conclusions. … No one knows what’s going on.”
Rizzo was asked if support for a Cubs teammate is unconditional.
Russell has struggled much of this season, hitting .209 with three home runs. He has shared the starting shortstop job with Javy Baez since the team’s recent road trip.
Russell is not in the lineup for Thursday night’s game against the Colorado Rockies.
During an afternoon appearance on 670 The Score, general manager Jed Hoyer discussed the reasoning behind holding Russell out of the game Thursday.
“We just felt like given the serious allegation, we thought it was the right thing to do for Addison,” Hoyer said. “Keep the issues away from the ballpark and we’ll keep this decision day-by-day.
“[Wednesday] night in the nature of social media, we found out about his wife’s post along with everyone else. And we found out during the game and shortly after that post we found out about the allegation from the third party … Once the allegation from the third party was made, we talked to Major League Baseball.”
Hoyer said no decision on a suspension had been made Thursday.
“To be clear, once it was turned over to MLB, any suspension would have to come from the league, not from the team,” Hoyer said. “We asked him to stay home today, but we’ll talk tonight.”