Major League Baseball put Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell on administrative leave on Friday after his ex-wife published a lengthy blog spot earlier in the week that detailed years of alleged abuse.
"Major League Baseball takes all allegations of domestic violence seriously," the league said in a statement. "With the new details revealed in today's blog post by Ms. Russell, Mr. Russell has been placed on Administrative Leave in accordance with the Joint MLB-MLBPA Domestic Violence Policy. We are hopeful that this new information will allow us to complete the investigation as promptly as possible."
Administrative leave usually lasts seven days at first, according to the league's website, though it can ask for another week if it’s so inclined.
Melisa Reidy-Russell was married to the ballplayer for two years before the pair parted ways over the summer. In a blog post published Wednesday, Reidy-Russell described her marriage to Russell as one that was rife with verbal, emotional and physical abuse that was so extensive that it sent her into a depressive state.
The first time she was “physically mistreated” by her husband, Reidy-Russell wrote, she was in “shock.”
“I couldn’t wrap my head around what just happened…Why did he get so angry? What did I do for him to want to put his hands on me?” she wrote. “Of course I forgave him & assumed it would never happen again. I just thought he had let his emotions get the best of him, he loves me and he’s sorry. I was deeply hurt that he could even be capable of this behavior towards me, I couldn’t understand how the man I was so in love with, the FATHER of my child, the man I married just a few months ago could show such aggression towards me… I simply could not wrap my head around it, it tore me apart.”
Reidy-Russell said she tried to ignore what was happening while attempting to avoid making him angry “in fear of it happening again,” she wrote. Eventually, verbal and emotional abuse became an “everyday thing” in their relationship, she said.
Russell not only cheated on her “with so many different women,” Reidy-Russell wrote, but he was also extremely critical of their sex life together, issues that ate away at her self-confidence.
She detailed the daily abuse she endured: “Being blamed for just about anything that went wrong, name calling, intimidating me with personal force, manipulating me to think I was the problem, destroying my personal things, threatening me to ‘send’ me & our son home to my parents as if I was privileged to be living in our home.”
She added that she “felt like I was nothing...without him,” and couldn’t do anything independent of Russell.
Russell’s behavior got worse during arguments and when he was intoxicated, Reidy-Russell said. When her friends and family began to express concern, she fell into a depression and subsequently distanced herself from those closest to her.
“Everyday began to be a struggle to fake the convincing smile of a happy wife I grew accustomed to,” she wrote.
She finally decided to end the relationship in April 2017 after finding out Russell had been unfaithful. She later decided to visit Russell in order for him to see their son, but the occasion devolved into a “nightmare,” she said.
“I swore to myself it would be the last time he’d lay his hands on me & it would be that last time I’d let my son be a witness to it,” her post read. Reidy-Russell began divorce proceedings shortly afterward.
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said that he and chairman Tom Ricketts met with Russell to deliver the news about the administrative leave decision, MLB.com reports.
"We were aware the investigation had remained open," Epstein said Friday, as quoted by MLB.com. "I'd been in touch from time to time with the league's investigative body to get updates and let them know we were fully cooperative to bring it to a conclusion. They assured us that it remained open, and they were doing everything they could. Surprised? Yes, certainly."
This is not the first time Russell has been accused of abusing his ex-partner.
Allegations surfaced last year after Reidy-Russell took to Instagram and accused Russell of cheating on her last June. A friend also used the comments section to publicly allege that Russell “mentally and physically” abused his wife, USA Today reported at the time.
Russell afterward issued a statement denying those claims.
“Any allegation I have abused my wife is false and hurtful,” he said, according to USA Today. “For the well-being of my family, I’ll have no further comment.”
The MLB launched an investigation into the claims, but Reidy-Russell ultimately decided not to participate in the investigation, USA Today reports. The results of the investigation are currently unknown.
Russell is one of many professional athletes who have been involved in recent domestic abuse scandals.
[Photo Credit: Getty]