Chicago Cubs' Russell accepts 40-game suspension imposed by MLB
Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell said he has accepted a 40-game suspension from Major League Baseball under the league's domestic violence policy.
"After gaining a full understanding of the situation I have concluded it's in the best interest of my family to accept MLB's proposed resolution of this matter," Russell said in a statement released by his attorney, Kathleen T. Zellner.
"I wish my ex-wife well and hope we can live in peace for the benefit of our child."
Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. announced the suspension Wednesday afternoon. Manfred said it is without pay for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. The unpaid suspension of Russell is retroactive to Sept. 21, he said.
Russell, who had been on administrative leave, has agreed to not appeal the discipline, Manfred said.
Consistent with the terms of the policy, Russell will participate in a confidential and comprehensive evaluation and treatment program supervised by the Joint Policy Board.
"My office has completed its investigation into the allegations that Addison Russell violated Major League Baseball's Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy," Manfred said in a statement. "Having reviewed all of the available evidence, I have concluded that Mr. Russell violated the Policy and should be subject to discipline in the form of an unpaid suspension that will cover 40 games."
Cubs team president Theo Epstein addressed the media Wednesday, one day after the Cubs were eliminated from the postseason by losing the wild-card game to the Colorado Rockies. Epstein said he had just received the news about the suspension when he took to the podium.
"I think the most important thing going forward is to be part of the solution and to focus on - not to sound corny about this, but making this a better place, making sure this doesn't happen going forward on our watch," he said. "Being there for our players, their spouses, for their families, maybe putting some systems in place to help and be very proactive, that's what I'm thinking about."
Epstein would not commit to saying whether the 24-year-old Russell has played his last game as a Cub.
"Addy, in my opinion, also should not just be completely dismissed," Epstein said. "I think he deserves our support and our help going forward, too. I think the fact that MLB includes in their determination here that there's an evaluation of treatment going forward, that's something we should fully support and support participating in."