Cubs shortstop Addison Russell has been placed on administrative leave by Major League Baseball after further allegations of domestic abuse in a blog post purportedly by his ex-wife.
Melisa Reidy-Russell appears to be the author who details alleged abuse by the Cubs shortstop in a WordPress blog post published this week and linked to from her Instagram account’s profile. In it, she outlines alleged emotional, verbal and physical abuse she says she faced throughout their two-year marriage, including one instance of physical abuse in front of their son.
MLB’s subsequent statement read:
“Major League Baseball takes all allegations of Domestic Violence seriously. When the allegations against Addison Russell became public on June 7, 2017, the Commissioner’s Office’s Department of Investigations immediately commenced an investigation. Melisa Russell declined to participate in the investigation at that time. Our investigation of this matter remained open and we have continued our efforts to gather information.
“With the new details revealed in today’s blog post by Ms. Russell, Mr. Russell has been placed on Administrative Leave in accordance with the Joint MLB-MLBPA Domestic Violence Policy. We are hopeful that this new information will allow us to complete the investigation as promptly as possible.”
The Cubs also issued a statement, backing MLB’s decision:
“We take allegations of domestic violence seriously and support the league’s decision to place Addison Russell on administrative leave given new details revealed today. We will continue to cooperate with the league’s investigation so the appropriate action can be taken.”
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts and president of baseball operations Theo Epstein addressed the media after Russell was placed on administrative leave and spoke at length about the allegations against Russell. Epstein said he was surprised by the “disturbing” post and he reached out to the league when he was made aware of it, according to The Athletic.
“Anytime there are accusations of this nature it has to be taken very seriously. … The important thing here is that justice and fairness is ultimately found,” Epstein told reporters.
Epstein also said they questioned Russell on his innocence, but “he reaffirmed his stance that he did not do what he was accused of,” per The Athletic.
The new details came to light in the blog under the headline “you no longer have a secret, you have a story.” The post, by “lifewithmelis31037303” (Reidy-Russell’s name isn’t on the lengthy piece), included a profile picture atop the blog that shows a woman walking away from the camera alongside a child.
Russell, 24, was not in the Cubs lineup for Friday afternoon’s game against the White Sox at Wrigley Field before MLB announced its decision. He is batting .250/.317/.340 with five homers, 38 RBIs and 52 runs in 130 games for the first-place Cubs, who hold a 2 1/2-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central entering Friday’s play.
In the blog, presumably by Reidy-Russell, she also explained how she has been affected by the alleged mistreatment.
From the blog post, in part:
“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.
“I saw a darkness in him I’ve never seen or experienced in him or anyone else.
“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.
“When it began to set in for him that I was really serious about not wanting this marriage anymore, he just about lost his mind. It came in waves of sincere apologies, to lashing out when I would stand my ground and not fall for his empty promises about changing & being a better husband and father. This went on for about 3 weeks.
“The way I was treated and the way he made me feel about myself, tore me down to nothing. I was so proud of myself for not being afraid anymore, I was free to make my own choices and I was free to live for MYSELF. I was taking back my life. It took months for night terrors to stop, to not have panic attacks 3 times a week, to look in the mirror and not feel worthless.”
As MLB said in its statement Friday, its investigation into Russell remains open following previous allegations of abuse by a friend of Reidy-Russell. The probe started in June 2017 after Reidy-Russell accused him in an Instagram post of cheating on her. Her friend then commented with an allegation of abuse against Russell, according to the Chicago-Sun Times.
The couple’s divorce was finalized Aug. 30. The two were married in January 2016; their son was born in August 2015.