Russell suspended for 40 games, won't appeal

October 3rd, 2018

CHICAGO -- Cubs shortstop has accepted a 40-game suspension without pay for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.
The suspension, which is retroactive to Sept. 21, was announced by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred on Wednesday. Russell missed the Cubs' final 11 regular-season games as well as Tuesday's 2-1, 13-inning loss to the Rockies in the National League Wild Card Game while he was on administrative leave as a result of the investigation.
Russell has agreed not to appeal the discipline. Consistent with the terms of the policy, Russell will participate in a confidential and comprehensive evaluation and treatment program supervised by the Joint Policy Board.
"My office has completed its investigation into the allegations that Addison Russell violated Major League Baseball's Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy," Manfred said in a statement. "Having reviewed all of the available evidence, I have concluded that Mr. Russell violated the Policy and should be subject to discipline in the form of an unpaid suspension that will cover 40 games."
On Sept. 21, MLB placed Russell on administrative leave after allegations of domestic violence resurfaced in a blog post by his former wife.
"Clearly, we support Major League Baseball's finding and Addy's decision to accept the suspension," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said on Wednesday. "My thoughts on it are, as I said the other day, domestic violence is everyone's problem. Because of that, we all have an obligation to be part of the solution as well. Discipline, in a case like this, is part of the solution going forward, so we support Major League Baseball's decision and think it's appropriate, but prevention is also a part of the solution and maybe a more important part of the solution."

Epstein said he felt the Cubs' obligation now was to "see what we can do to prevent this from ever happening again, to reach out to the victim in this case and try to learn from it and try to give her support, to talk to Addy and give Addy the necessary support so he can get the help he needs and make sure nothing like this ever happens again.
"I personally think the most important thing going forward is to be part of the solution," Epstein said. "Not to sound really corny about this, but make this a better place and make sure this doesn't happen going forward, especially on our watch, and try to control what we can control."
MLB began its investigation into domestic violence allegations against Russell in June 2017, but his ex-wife, Melisa Reidy-Russell, chose not to discuss the allegations at that time.
In September, Reidy-Russell posted on her WordPress blog details of emotional, verbal and physical abuse by her ex-husband.
Last year and this year, Russell issued a statement denying the allegations.
"He accepted this discipline, and I want to talk to him about what that means and find out more -- and the victim, first and foremost, deserves our outreach and our support, and that will be forthcoming very quickly," Epstein said. "Addy, in my opinion, should not just be completely dismissed. He deserves our support and help going forward, too."
Will Russell play for the Cubs again?
"I don't know," Epstein said.
"The part I do question myself on is, in general, as a sports team, what's the absolute best structure you can have for your players, for their spouses, for their families so that this never happens?" Epstein said.
"That's a really high standard, and that's what we should be shooting for. I know we have a wonderful family program, and we try to stay engaged. Clearly because this happened, we should all be asking, 'Can we do more?' That should be the goal for everybody. Domestic violence is everybody's problem, and we can all find a way to be a part of the solution."