Addison Russell Placed on Administrative Leave After Ex-Wife Details Years of Abuse

In a blog posted earlier this week, Melisa Reidy, the ex-wife of Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell, expounded in detail about the abuse she suffered, both physically and emotionally, at Russell’s hands for over two years.

Major League Baseball had already been prompted to open an investigation into Russell back in 2017 after Reidy’s friend had alleged domestic violence perpetrated by Russell. The 24-year-old shortstop denied the allegations at the time, and Reidy declined to cooperate with the MLB but did file for divorce. The investigation remained open, and Russell was allowed to continue playing for the Cubs due to no substantial evidence against him and no official charges being filed.

The blog post from Reidy has caused Major League Baseball to act swiftly, due to the detailed nature of her allegations:

“The first time I was physically mistreated by my spouse, I was in shock. I couldn’t wrap my head around what just happened … Why did he get so angry? What did I do for him to want to put his hands on me? Of course I forgave him & assumed it would never happen again. I just thought he had let his emotions get the best of him, he loves me and he’s sorry. I was deeply hurt that he could even be capable of this behavior towards me, I couldn’t understand how the man I was so in love with, the FATHER of my child, the man I married just a few months ago could show such aggression towards me.”

Reidy also opened up about the emotional abuse that she suffered on a daily basis during her relationship with Russell.

“Being blamed for just about anything that went wrong, name calling, intimidating me with personal force, manipulating me to think I was the problem, destroying my personal things, threatening me to ‘send’ me & our son home to my parents as if I was privileged to be living in our home. Basically, I felt like I was nothing, a nobody & I was nothing without him, & I couldn’t do anything without him.”

Shortly after this blog post surfaced, Major League Baseball decided to place Russell on administrative leave, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today

Nightengale also highlighted the response from the Chicago Cubs organization regarding the news on Russell:

From a baseball standpoint, the loss of Russell will hamper a Chicago Cubs team that is currently battling to win its division. Russell has played in 130 games with the Cubs this season, batting .250 with 38 runs batted in.

However, the larger point here is that Russell now becomes the second player in Major League Baseball this season to be suspended for domestic abuse. Roberto Osuna, now pitching for the defending champion Houston Astros, was suspended for 75 games after he was charged with domestic abuse back in May of this year.

Osuna is eligible to pitch for the Houston Astros in the postseason despite his 75-game suspension, and that has been the source of some controversy around the baseball community. Cases like this raise the question: how should perpetrators of domestic violence be treated when it comes to the resumption of their careers? Osuna, for example, has served his league-imposed 75-game suspension but has yet to appear in court since being charged in early May.

It will be interesting to see how Major League Baseball handles Russell’s case. The details that surfaced from Reidy’s blog post were disturbing enough to warrant immediate action from the league. However, Russell has not yet been officially charged with anything, and when these allegations first arose last year, Reidy failed to cooperate with Major League Baseball in their investigation.

When and/or if Russell is formally charged, the league must be ready to impose a harsh punishment. There is already some belief that the league allowed Osuna to skate with just a half-season suspension and not stripping him of playoff eligibility. Robinson Cano, who was suspended for PED use, is not eligible to play in the postseason because of that, but Osuna, a man charged with domestic abuse, is eligible? That double standard will only become more glaring if Osuna ends up closing out playoff games for the Houston Astros this October.

Given the details provided in Reidy’s blog post, along with the fact that Russell was already being investigated for over a year, Major League Baseball has everything it needs. The league can make an example of Russell and show, definitively, that it has a zero-tolerance policy towards domestic violence.

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