Addison Russell: What To Believe

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NC WEB BL LN CHICAGO OUT Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) hugs shortstop Addison Russell in the Cubs' dugout before a game against the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Friday, June 9, 2017. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

This piece was written by @ivyleaguereports on Twitter. You can visit his site at ivyleaguereport.com

Addison Russell, amidst rumors of infidelity and possible domestic violence, returned to the Chicago Cubs lineup on Saturday. Fielding his normal shortstop position, the youthful and struggling player got back to what he stated he feels like is best for him. Being with his boys on the field and in the clubhouse. Trying to get back to normal.

Much like his route to being a better ballplayer, it’ll be a long road there.

Personally, I’ve been waiting on this post for quite some time, but rather than bringing redundant news to the masses, I wanted to take a more observant approach and try to come away with a thought a little deeper than something that is only emotionally responsive because, quite frankly, that’s the easy way out.

The accusation and response has been easy to sum up. Addison Russell cheated on his wife Melisa, therefore he’s evil, people hate him, want him to be traded/released/suspended, called him a clubhouse cancer, etc. That is literally what I read on social media, and that was before any domestic violence accusal appeared.

Regardless, Addison found his way into the lineup after a few days off. Saturday wasn’t good, and I can’t imagine anybody expected otherwise, but Sunday was tremendous.

So what do we know for sure? Nearly nothing, which is why I’ve waited so long to post, but enough time is passed to have let the initial fire die down a little bit. Feel as you will, but at least feel rationally.

What I have inferred is that Addison Russell has been accused of infidelity and hasn’t denied it specifically, which suggest guilt. He has also been accused, via a social media posting and not from the purported victim, of domestic violence, which he has denied. Russell stated:

“Any allegation I have abused my wife is false and hurtful. For the well-being of my family, I’ll have no further comment.”

Reading between the lines suggested he messed up, but did not physically or verbally hurt Melisa. That said, only one of the claims was refuted in the violence denial. Infidelity is still present.

Considering this, what else is there to look at except letting the situation unfold as it will? I realize that victims often don’t report their assaulters, both of the verbal and physical variety, and that is an entirely different story. I also realize that athletes aren’t, as John Proctor said in Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible,” “born as pure as God’s fingers.” Nobody is infallible, but unless I have direct testimony from his wife, or information from authorities that suggests otherwise, I don’t see how we can walk away from this calling Addison Russell anything but a cheater…and that’s it. Nobody is saying that’s acceptable, but it isn’t domestic violence at this stage.

For now. And we hope it remains that way.

Everything is subject to change, Addison Russell being the topic or not. And again, I get the initial response. If you know me at all, cheating in marriage is something that literally makes me want to vomit. I do not understand breaking a vow, and there are few things that make my skin crawl more than that. The issue is that I have no idea what else is happening, so a proper reaction isn’t easy. Right now, the best I can, and collectively we should do, is look at Addison Russell with a distaste and lack of sympathy. I think that is fair, all in respect to his accused of cheating, but that is it.

Again, I know it is hard…almost impossible sometimes…to speak up when you’re a victim. The sad truth is that we live in a day and age of drama, hyperbole, anonymous sources, and more. I’m not saying that the friend of Russell’s wife was seeking attention with her claim of abuse, because I have no earthly clue, but I don’t see how it is fair to take that claim to heart without any evidence or claim to back it up. To repeat, to my knowledge, Addison did not deny infidelity, but he did deny the abuse, so that is all I can infer for now with the notion that at any moment information could change everything.

Taking Addison’s word on a claim of innocence isn’t enough though, so it is important to see the other side. Melisa has reacted to this as well. We’ve seen Addison’s statement, and that is all we have other than his wife’s “freedom post,” which said nothing of abuse. She did however follow up her post saying it wasn’t meant to be “degrading,” but instead “empowering.”

Melisa’s words carried frustration, anger, betrayal, and a desire for a better future. She deliberately said “cheated,” “lied,” and “disrespected.”  In other words, reading between the lines isn’t necessary. She accused her husband, he didn’t deny, and that’s what we have to work with. For now, I’m furious with Addison, wish her the best, and that’s all any of us could’ve done with that. Then came the follow-up to the non “degrading” but “empowering” post saying she was to suggesting women should stand up for themselves and not take, as she said, “shit” from anybody, which I love.

So my question is this then. If she felt strong enough to make her accusal in the first place, not at a random time, but during a game when the audience would be at its largest volume, then feel the need to follow it up with saying it was meant to be uplifting and not demoralizing…”at all”…and she didn’t make a claim of violence in either post and the other violence accusal post from her friend was deleted, why should we think Addison is guilty of anything other than being a filthy cheater?

It also doesn’t mean it isn’t accurate, but following the news and living in the world I do let me take it to heart without a reason. I need something to suggest otherwise.

So for now, I’ll react to Addison with disgust and immense disappointment. I can’t help that. I hope somehow things work out, are explained better, etc, but I also know he is also a human being who can make a horrific mistake, learn from it, and that’s it. This is his personal life we’re talking about here, not his baseball life, and unless the abuse part is given a foundation, there isn’t much else we can do.

In our daily lives, we constantly bump into people I’m sure we would be horrified to know do terrible things to people they love. It’s unfortunate, yet it is a reminder that this isn’t a utopia. MLB is going to interview, as will authorities of more powerful scale if prompted, Addison’s wife and her friend statement more specifically. When and if that information is made public, we can continue this conversation, but until then, look at him how you want, but I can’t see a reason to not let him continue to do his job.

Lastly, I’m not an expert on this, and would never claim to be. I’m just reacting to what I see. I look forward to any conversation that would make me think otherwise but know this. If you’re tactic is anger and ferocity at my assessment, and if you can’t calmly and rationally explain to me my error, you’re exactly the reason why it is so hard to hear a person’s voice with authenticity anymore.

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