Commentary: What to do with Addison Russell?


by - Columnist -
Charles LeClaire - USA Today Sports
Charles LeClaire - USA Today Sports

This is a very uncomfortable story for me to write and remain unbiased. I would guess the same could be said for most people. Is anyone really in favor of hitting a woman or child? If you are, then some major issues in your world need to be addressed.

With that as my mindset, I feel I need to address the current issue surrounding the Cubs and Addison Russell. It is not because I have any particular axe to grind or investment in the outcome, but because I want to try to understand all sides of Cubs fandom on this topic. I also want to be sure I have a clear answer for myself on this.

Since MLB installed a set of guidelines for this topic, there have been 11 players investigated for abuse. Two players, Yasiel Puig and Miguel Sano, have been cleared of any charges, at this time. I wasn’t involved in the investigation, so I can’t say if there was no wrongdoing found or not enough to charge. I’ll leave that to MLB and the courts to clear up and will take MLB at it’s finding of no suspension.

For the nine others, however, there was enough evidence discovered to suspend the players for 15-100 games. These players are, in no particular order:

7 out of 9 of these players were sent to another team, or released, following their return from suspension. The teams did not have the stomach to deal with the public reaction to their suspension. Of course, the Yankees thought so little of Chapman that once they robbed the Cubs farm system, they welcomed him back with open arms.

I can hear you yawning out there over this fascinating recap and thinking to yourselves, why am I reading this? That is unanswerable of course but stay with me.

Baseball teams seem to have no problem sticking with their guys if they are caught taking drugs or HGH or steroids. They have even been known to look the other way when their player is arrested/stopped for DUI and other issues.

So why the backpedaling on abuse charges for their guys? I can assure you that there is no moral outrage by the team for this. They have proven over and over again that they have no moral code of conduct because if they did, they would have traded players for cheating and other things they have done.

There has been some pushback by players on this issue in the locker room with the latest being Roberto Osuna when he was traded to the Astros. The Houston players spoke out about how they would not accept this behavior on their team. It was commendable of them to say so, but of course, he stayed anyway and led them to the playoffs.

So back to Russell and the Cubs.

I said early on in this investigation that my position on this is that I will not accept this behavior from anyone for any reason ever. There is no acceptable time that it is OK to hit a woman or a child, period. I find it deplorable and believe that the penalty should be a minimum of a year out of baseball, or sports in general for that matter.

If you worked for XYZ, Inc. and you were charged with hitting your wife, I am 100% positive you would be out of a job pretty quickly and even faster if the company was in the news as your employer.

America, however, is a country that will give someone a second chance if they show remorse and a willingness to seek help to correct their issues. I’m not sure the Cubs are feeling so benevolent towards Russell, but for now, he is still their problem. The problem with the Russell situation is that I haven’t heard him take responsibility for this or show any shred of remorse for his actions. Maybe I’ve missed it because I’ve been doing other things but I’m pretty sure I would have heard about it.

Someone in baseball will give Russell another chance. If he gets help and is willing to take responsibility for what he did then the Cubs should help him get help and then trade him to a team that is willing to give the Cubs anything in return.

I’m sorry, but I can’t picture him in a Cubs uniform and not think every time that he should be in jail or out of baseball.

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