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Cubs Players, Coaches React to Addison Russell Controversy

In the wake of controversy swirling around Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell, his teammates and team executives and coaches discussed the situation Thursday evening.

“I’m still trying to understand it myself,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “I sat with him and Theo and just listened. In a situation like this, where it’s very easy to be accusatory, I choose not to be – I choose to listen – and I don’t make up my mind about anything until I’ve gathered all the facts.”  

The facts in question remain to be sorted out, as Major League Baseball is looking into allegations made against Russell on social media. In a deleted Instagram post, Russell’s wife Melisa accused the shortstop of marital infidelity, and a woman claiming to be Mrs. Russell’s friend claimed that Russell “physically and mentally” abused his wife.

The revelations stunned Russell’s teammates, including first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

 “I love Addison and we have some really good memories together,” he said. “But I don’t know what’s going on outside of this clubhouse.”

Kris Bryant echoed Rizzo’s comments, saying that time away from the team to sort the situation out could be good for Russell.

 “I think it’s important to kinda have space away from your teammates,” he said. “That’s how I try to live too. There’s things (that are) way more important than baseball. It’s obviously a tough situation and unfortunate.”

Major League Baseball, which instituted tough new penalties regarding domestic abuse allegations in 2015, is looking into the matter, and the Cubs told Russell not to come to Wrigley Field for Thursday’s game against the Colorado Rockies so that he could attend to the matter.

Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein said that Russell’s absence from the game should not be construed as a suspension, but that the allegations against him are being taken seriously both by the team and by the league.

“Right now this is an allegation by a third party on social media,” he said. “(It’s) a serious allegation, and that’s why we met with Addison and that’s why we referred it immediately to Major League Baseball.  We’re taking it very seriously. There’s not a lot more we can say, but we wanted to give it the appropriate attention.”

Epstein said there is no timetable for Russell’s return to the Cubs’ lineup. The shortstop has been splitting time in the starting lineup with Javier Baez of late, and Baez will start in Russell’s place during his absence. 

If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic violence you can call Connections for Abused Women and their Children 24-hours a day at 773-278-4566.

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