Major League Baseball has announced that Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell has been suspended 40 games without pay for alleged domestic abuse. Russell is not appealing his punishment.
The Commissioner of Baseball, Robert Manfred, issued a statement regarding Russell’s punishment and said the following:
“My office has completed its investigation into the allegations that Addison Russell violated Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy,” Manfred said in a statement. “Having reviewed all of the available evidence, I have concluded that Mr. Russell violated the Policy and should be subject to discipline in the form of an unpaid suspension that will cover 40 games.”
Russel’s suspension is retroactive to September 21 and will carry over into the first 29 games of the 2019 regular season. Russell will also engage in a confidential and thorough evaluation and treatment program, that will be supervised by Major League Baseball’s Joint Policy Board.
“After gaining a full understanding of the situation, I have concluded it’s in the best interest of my family to accept MLB’s proposed resolution of this matter,” Russell said in a statement released by his attorneys Wednesday. “I wish my ex-wife well and hope we can live in peace for the benefit of our child.”
Russell was placed on administrative leave on September 21, after his ex-wife, Melisa Reidy, restated claims of domestic abuse. “I’m so relieved it’s over.” Reidy said, “Now I can focus on helping more women.”
“Clearly we support MLB’s finding and Addy’s decision to accept the suspension,” Chicago Cubs President Theo Epstein said Wednesday. “We all have an obligation to be part of the solution. Discipline is part of the solution, so we support MLB’s decision, but prevention is also part of the solution.
“It’s our obligation to see what we can do better going forward. To see what we can do to prevent this from ever happening again.”
Many believe that Russell’s tenure as a Chicago Cub is now over following the suspension due to the fact that Russell will be a free agent this upcoming Offseason if the Cubs do not offer him a contract.
“I don’t know,” Epstein said when asked if Russell will wear a Cubs uniform in 2019. “With all of our words and actions going forward, whether we know it or not, we’re sending messages to our fans.”
“The victim deserves our outreach and our support. That will be forthcoming, very quickly. Addy should not be completely dismissed. He needs our help moving forward as well.”
Russell had a mediocre 2018 season after hitting .250 with five home runs and 38 RBIs in 130 games. One thing is for sure, Russell’s free agency is going to be a tough one with few teams wanting a player with both poor statistics and a media circus around them, and it is possible that Addison Russell will not wear a Major League uniform for a long time, much longer than 40 games.