Cubs shortstop Addison Russell

Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports

Russell Denies Domestic Violence Allegations

"I'm confident any full and fair investigation will fully exonerate me," Addison Russell says.

September 21, 2018 - 7:46 pm
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(670 The Score) On administrative leave from the Cubs following domestic violence allegations levied against him by his ex-wife, shortstop Addison Russell has denied any wrongdoing.

"These allegations are completely false," Russell said in a statement released through the MLB Players Association on Friday night. "I made that clear to Major League Baseball last year and reiterated it to the Cubs today. I'm confident any full and fair investigation will fully exonerate me. The protection of my children is foremost in my mind, so I will have no further comment."

MLB is investigating accusations made by Melisa Reidy-Russell, whom Russell married in 2016 and split from last year, that Russell physically, emotionally and verbally abused her during their relationship. A similar accusation toward Russell was first made in June 2017 in a social media comment by a friend of Reidy-Russell's, at which time MLB initially opened up its investigation. Reidy-Russell didn't cooperate with MLB investigators then, so the case remained open but stalled.

Reidy-Russell shared her account in a recent blog post, which included the line, "He put his hands on me." It wasn't immediately clear if Reidy-Russell would cooperate this time around with the league's investigation.

Russell has the right to challenge the leave before an arbitrator. An administrative leave lasts for seven days, though it can be extended if the union and league agree.

Bernstein: Disturbing day for Cubs

In an afternoon press conference, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein emphasized the need to let the league's investigation play out.

"The process has an intermediate step built into it to handle it -- that's where we are with administrative leave," Epstein said. "Again, that balancing act that comes with an accusation validating the rights of the accuser and providing an appropriate forum is something that's really difficult. We don't have the answer for, except that we know it's appropriate to take it as seriously as we possibly can and to follow the process because the process is designed to defend everyone's rights and to lead to a fair and just outcome. And that's what we're supportive of."

Epstein also acknowledged how difficult of a situation this is.

"One thing that we've learned as a society as we collectively try to wrestle with balancing or trying to deal with how to appropriately handle accusations like this is that it's important to step back and realize that if you know someone in one context that you don't necessarily know them fully," Epstein said.

The 24-year-old Russell is hitting .250 with five homers and 38 RBIs in 130 games this season. He's struggled mightily lately, hitting .158 with a .377 OPS in September.