OCT. 2: MLB expects to reach a decision on Russell’s case “shortly,” perhaps before the end of the playoffs, commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday (via Patrick Mooney of The Athletic; subscription required). Interestingly, Mooney reports there’s a “sense around the team” that Russell has played his final game as a Cub.
SEPT. 28: In her first interview, Reidy discussed her experiences with Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com. Explaining that she “wasn’t ready” to talk to investigators when first contacted last year, in the wake of her split with Russell, Reidy says she was also advised by counsel to hold off on telling her own story until she was fully prepared.
Ultimately, Reidy decided to wait until her divorce had been finalized before finally electing to publicize her experiences.
“It wasn’t sitting right with me,” she said of the fact that she had yet to speak out. “I took it upon myself to do what I needed to do regardless what could happen, financially. I know that I’m going to be OK … I shouldn’t have to feel like I can’t speak out to help someone else, in order to protect someone that hurt me.”
Russell’s administrative leave has been extended through to the end of the regular season, as Rosenthal recently reported on Twitter.
SEPT. 25: The league’s decision to place Russell on administrative leave was based not only on the recently released allegations, but on “additional credible information” that has been gathered, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription post). Since prior claims of domestic abuse by Russell arose last year, the league has interviewed Reidy as well as “numerous other witnesses,” Rosenthal adds.
Notably, too, Rosenthal reports that Russell does not intend to challenge the exercise of the administrative leave authority, though he is still not precluded from doing so.
SEPT. 21: Melisa Reidy, the ex-wife of Cubs shortstop Addison Russell, has released a detailed account of the events that led to the couple’s separation and eventual divorce, alleging that Russell abused her verbally, emotionally and physically over the course of a short and tumultuous marriage. In the wake of that statement, Major League Baseball announced that Russell has been placed on paid administrative leave, as is typical during investigations under the MLB-MLBPA Join Domestic Violence Policy.
It’s the second time that allegations have been brought forth against Russell. The first instance came when a friend of Reidy spoke out on Instagram; Reidy, in the process of separating and filing for divorce at the time, did not cooperate with MLB’s investigation. Now, it stands to reason that this latest account from the alleged victim herself will bring forth a second and more serious investigation from the league. It’s unclear whether the relevant law enforcement authorities are investigating the allegations and/or whether criminal charges could be pursued.
Reidy describes multiple instances of Russell becoming physically violent, alleging that he “[laid] his hands on [her]” and “physically mistreated” her. She also details a series of verbal and emotional abuse, including intimidation via the threat of physical force. Needless to say, the allegations against Russell are serious and disturbing. At the very least, they’ll fall under the purview of Major League Baseball’s domestic abuse agreement, which gives commissioner Rob Manfred the authority to issue punishment even in the absence of criminal proceedings. (Presently, it’s not clear if Reidy plans to press charges, though the allegations could carry criminal implications as well.)
The Cubs offered the following statement:
“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 owner Tom Ricketts and president of baseball operations Theo Epstein each addressed the matter in greater detail, as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Tribune covers. Both expressed agreement with the league’s decision to place Russell on leave while indicating that he had denied the allegations to them in a meeting held this morning.
Russell has issued a statement through the MLB Players Association, asserting:
“These allegations are completely false. I made that clear to Major League Baseball last year and reiterated it to the Cubs today. I’m confident any full and fair investigation will fully exonerate me. The protection of my children is foremost in my mind so I will have no further comment.”
Notably, per Wittenmyer, the organization’s expectation is that Russell will not appear on the field again this season, though there has been no formal determination to that effect. It is common for such leave to be extended throughout the duration of an investigation, though we’ve not previously seen these type of allegations surface in such close proximity to the postseason. With that in mind, it’s worth noting that a regular-season suspension under the league’s domestic violence policy, in and of itself, does not preclude a player from participating in the postseason. (PED-related suspensions do preclude postseason participation, by rule.) It’s also worth bearing in mind, though, that league investigations are often lengthy endeavors; Roberto Osuna, for instance, was on administrative leave for roughly six weeks before Manfred and the league made a determination.
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