Chicago Cubs infielder Addison Russell faces a league investigation stemming from domestic abuse allegations that surfaced online Wednesday night.
Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell found himself in an unsavory position last night. The budding star, who recently lost his starting spot in the lineup, was the target of an Instagram post from his wife, Melisa Russell.
While Russell was on the bench during the game, word got out about potential infidelity and worse, when she broke the news via a since-deleted Instagram post.
"“Being free to be able to make your own choices for your own happiness beats being cheated on, lied to, & disrespected any day. #herestonewbeginnings #onlygetsbetterfromhere.”"
Following the team’s loss to Miami, Russell appeared to have already left. He was not available to the press and not seen at his locker. Neither he, nor the organization, have commented on the allegations as of 12 p.m. CT Thursday.
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The initial allegations of infidelity are troubling enough. But a comment from a reported friend of Melisa Russell is what prompted the looming MLB investigation.
"“…hateful is cheating on your wife, mentally & physically abusing her. Melisa didn’t want that out but I’ll say it. He hit her. In front of Aiden & Mila. But let’s worry about Melisa being “hateful” she was loyal, forgiving, & kind still is. She found condoms in his apartment yesterday. Should I keep the list going??”"
Aiden and Mila are Russell’s two children.
This isn’t the Chicago Cubs’ first brush with the league’s domestic violence policy. Just last season, the team acquired Aroldis Chapman from the New York Yankees at the deadline. The left-hander served a 30-game suspension early in the season stemming from a domestic violence incident in Florida.
Once the post blew up on social media, Melisa Russell responded to commenters via her personal Twitter account.
What does this mean for the Cubs?
How this potential fallout affects the Cubs on the field is obviously pure speculation right now for many reasons.
First, at least of now, there is no evidence of domestic abuse. That’s where an investigation comes in. Russell’s role with the team is highly dependent on the results of that. In the meantime, given the club’s dedication to culture, his future is likely under a microscope.
Major League Baseball has shown no patience for domestic violence in recent years. Reportedly, Russell is under league investigation stemming from the post. Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times initially broke the story that MLB was expected to investigate the situation and interview both Russell’s wife and her friend.
However, an MLB source told WSCR’s Bruce Levine that no such investigation is confirmed (although multiple other outlets reported an investigation is open).
For weeks, pundits worked through Russell’s struggles on the diamond. He barely maintained an average north of .200 and has struggled, at times, defensively, as well. The story has not yet fully developed – but I’d expect some sort of team response before tonight’s game against the Marlins.
Javier Baez started at shortstop Wednesday night, and it’s likely he’ll be there for the time being. While the alleged fallout regarding Russell may impact the team on the field in the long-term, it’s important to wait before rushing to judgment.