On Wednesday night, Addison Russellto the Chicago Cubs after serving a 40-game suspension under the league’s domestic violence policy, . He was booed prior to his first at-bat back.
Following Wednesday’s game Russell responded to the boos with an incredibly tone deaf comment, telling reporters: “If hometown fans want to boo someone that’s trying to help bring the team a World Series again, then that’s on them.”
On Friday morning, Russell attempted to walk back his comments, saying it’s up to him to earn back the respect of the fan base. Here’s what he told reporters, including Jesse Rogers of ESPN:
“Everyone is entitled to doing whatever they want to do, think whatever they want to think, say whatever they want to say,” Russell said Friday morning. “The reaction to me, I have to respect that. My actions are what they are. I have to be responsible for them.”
“I have nothing but respect for the fans,” Russell said. “It’s a goal to get the respect of the fans back. I just wish it could be on different terms.”
“There’s going to be a lot more adversity moving forward, for sure,” he said.
This needs to be made perfectly clear: Russell is not facing adversity. Adversity is dealing an injury or a family illness, not a domestic violence suspension in which the violent acts were chronicled in blog posts by the victims. Any “adversity” is self-made and thus far Russell has not a shown a shred of genuine remorse.
As for earned back the respect of the fans, that is not something that can be done on the field. Russell doesn’t get to make this all better by hitting .320 and driving in 80 runs the rest of the season. To earn respect, he has to first actually be sorry for his actions, and take steps to be a better person. Right now, Russell is acting like this is all a big inconvenience.