By Ed Diokno
Views From The Edge
The all-star shortstop for the Chicago Cubs, Addison Russell, might not be allowed to play in the postseason, which begins Tuesday, October 2.
The Filipino American baseball player was placed on leave last week by Major League Baseball following allegations that he was physically and verbally abusive during his marriage.
The Athletic reports that the MLB has “additional credible information” to support allegations by Filipina American ex-wife Melisa Reidy-Russell that she endured physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her husband during their marriage, which lasted less than two years.
Russell says the allegations were completely false and that he expects any “full and fair” investigation to exonerate him.
The odds of Russell returning to the Cubs in time for the MLB playoffs appear slim, as every previous case of a player going on administrative leave resulted in a suspension without appeal.
The most notable recent case was then-Blue Jays close Roberto Osuna, who eventually received a 75-game suspension for a breach of the league’s domestic violence policy, reports Yahoo.
According to MLB’s domestic violence policy, to punish a player does not require the “beyond a reasonable doubt” burden of proof seen in criminal courts, where domestic violence cases are more difficult to nail down, even in today’s #MeToo environment. Instead, MLB only needs enough evidence to conclude that the player likely committed the abuse, with the player having the right to appeal any suspension in front of an independent arbitrator.
The MLB placed Russell on a week of administrative leave on Sept. 21, which would have ended Friday (Sept. 28). During Russell’s absence the Cubs have since been losing ground in the last week of regular season games before the playoffs.
The estranged couple began divorce proceedings in 2017 after two years of marriage, in which Reidy-Russell alleges she faced constant emotional abuse that turned physical multiple times. She also alleged Russell frequently cheated on her, something she alluded to in an Instagram post celebrating a new beginning. When a friend commented on the post, alleging physical abuse by Russell, MLB opened an investigation.
“Last year, when MLB contacted me, I wasn’t ready,” Reidy-Russell told ESPN. “I didn’t know what was the right thing to do. I didn’t even believe in myself enough to think I should do that [cooperate]. I just left my husband and all this blew up.”
Reidy-Russell decided to speak out now because staying silent “wasn’t sitting right with me.” She said she was partly inspired by the #MeToo movement. (Read her blog here.)
“Prioritize yourself,” she said. “You can’t think about other people. Take a deep breath and remind yourself, ‘You’re fine.’ I told myself, ‘One day at a time, one day at a time.’ It’s important to remind yourself you are important and how you feel is important.”
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Russell, 24, made the All-Star team in 2016 when the Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time since 1908. Russell’s glove and bat were key reasons the team was able to break the 108-year World Series drought.
Russell’s status with the Cubs is still in question and it is doubtful he will return to the team if the Cubs play an extended postseason.
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