Theo Epstein and the Cubs still haven’t determined if Addison Russell will play another game for the team. The shortstop will begin the 2019 season serving a 40-game suspension after MLB investigated domestic violence allegations from Russell’s ex-wife, Melisa Reidy in September.
At this point, it seems like the Cubs want to play a serious role in Russell’s rehabilitation. Epstein explained that and more earlier this week at the GM meetings in California.
Via The Athletic.
“Domestic violence is everyone’s problem,” Epstein said as baseball’s GM meetings got underway. “This did happen on our watch, so we have to be part of the solution. For us it means prevention, it means trying to do everything we can as an organization to make sure this never happens again. So having everyone who interfaces with the players and their families trained professionally for detection and awareness and prevention. It’s impossible to say we’re going to create an organization where there’s never another episode of domestic violence again, but that has to be the goal. And we’re taking steps in that regard.”
“The solution also means, with respect to Addison, it means discipline,” Epstein said. “And he’s been handed his discipline and he’ll serve it. I also think part of the solution can possibly include rehabilitation and reformation. And taking steps to examine whether the individual is worth the investment so he can grow so that this never happens again with him. So we’re in that process. We have a robust mental skills department. I don’t want to get into specifics, but we’re very engaged with Addy in trying to verify that he’s serious about self-improvement and adding more stability in his life to get to a point that we’re confident that something like this will never happen again.”
Reidy described the emotional and physical abuse she suffered while married to Russell in a blog post in September. MLB investigated the claims, interviewing Reidy and other witnesses. Russell was initially placed on administrative leave and then the day after the Cubs were eliminated from the playoffs Russell was suspended.
Epstein said the following back in October, literally a few minutes after finding out about the suspension.
“I think we have to understand that with all of our words and actions going forward, whether we know it or not we’re sending messages to our fans, who all have their own unique backgrounds and histories and sensitivities and perspectives and that’s important.”
So, they’re committed to helping Russell, not simply getting rid of the problem as soon as possible. And I think that’s completely fine. We can all agree that the best possible outcome is that Russell does become a better person, learns how awful his behavior was and hopefully it never happens again.
Yet, we haven’t seen the slightest bit of acceptance of any wrongdoing by Russell. He’s always denied the allegations and even after being suspended all that was said was this.
“After gaining a full understanding of the situation I have concluded its in the best interest of my family to accept MLB’s proposed resolution of this matter. I wish my ex-wife well and hope we can live in peace for the benefit of our child.”
A month has come and gone since the suspension was handed down by MLB and the best Scott Boras could do to prop up Russell this was was saying the following.
Agent Scott Boras was asked if Addison Russell’s acceptance of a suspension as part of MLB’s domestic violence policy is now an admission of guilt after denying he did anything wrong previously. He began to answer it then pivoted a little: “Anytime you accept a course of action where there is a direction given…The idea that we look at is that Addison is getting therapy…Anytime we try to improve people and have a system that does that and brings attention to things that in society that make us better on and off the field, I think that’s a very positive step.”
Still, no admission of guilt.
How can the Cubs help out Russell if he can’t even admit to there being a problem in the first place.
No matter what happens, domestic violence will always be everyone’s problem, one the Cubs should actively work to address. But if Russell is unwilling to do the same, he should be someone else’s problem come 2019.
But while the overall sentiment holds true and how domestic violence is discussed and handled has to change, this particular situation can’t move forward until Russell is heard from. Until Russell publicly takes ownership for his actions and clearly demonstrates contrition, no true rehabilitation can occur.
Make sure to read this article.
I spoke with some domestic violence experts and wrote about about Addison Russell and ways the Cubs can actually be part of the solution: https://t.co/rASjKGo97s
— Lauren Comitor (@laurencomitor) November 8, 2018