Addison Russell’s locker at Wrigley Field should remain empty – he does not deserve a second chance

Questions for and about Addison Russell will keep coming and coming and coming – and they should.

Cubs shortstop Addison Russell does not deserve a second chance.

Second chances are for those who make mistakes, and Russell did not make a mistake.  He physically and psychologically tormented two women.  Domestic violence is not a mistake – it’s a societal pox.

Again and again on social media, people excoriate those who are critical of Russell with a variety of versions of “I hope you never make a mistake.”  Domestic violence is not mine (or yours) to forgive.  Those who hit women are not welcome in my life – today, tomorrow, or ever.

And they are sure as hell not people I will pay to watch play baseball.

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For as long as Russell is employed by the Cubs, I will not attend a Cubs game at Wrigley Field.  The Cubs have the highest average ticket prices in baseball.  Is it too much to ask that they field a team that doesn’t force mothers and fathers to answer questions about why Addison Russell still has a job after beating his wife?

The Cubs continued allegiance to their former starting shortstop is beyond my ability to comprehend .  To take part in his rehabilitation is laudable, and team president Theo Epstein’s work with Russell is worthy of admiration.  That’s what a friend does.  But the unintended consequences of Russell remaining a Cub should have been more closely examined and acted upon with his release.

Russell is not a good man who did a bad thing.  He is a bad man who did occasional good things.  Fans do not pay good money to watch bad men play baseball.

This story has turned good people in media and fans against one another.  Because the Cubs continue to stand by Russell, fans are forced to answer why they support violence against women, and if Cubs management doesn’t believe players will be held accountable for their friendship with Russell, they are dead wrong.

The Cubs have misjudged the level of unpleasantness this distraction has and will cause.  Their decision to leave Russell in Iowa as his suspension expired shows they are averse to being held accountable for their initial well-intentioned but hideous and foolish choice to continue to allow Russell to remain a Cub.

Maybe the Cubs come to their senses and realize that domestic violence requires a strong and unforgiving response.  Maybe through his counseling, Russell embraces a set of tactics that provide him relief from his anger so further incidents are avoided.  Maybe eager-to-forgive fans will realize that others who demand Russell become a former Cub aren’t heartless, and maybe those hard-line fans who want Russell out will understand forgivers aren’t pro-domestic violence.

We can only hope.

Whatever happens, these last six months will be remembered among the truly terrible episodes in Cubs history.

Thanks Theo.

2 thoughts on “Addison Russell’s locker at Wrigley Field should remain empty – he does not deserve a second chance

  1. Steve S

    First of all, I understand your anger and domestic violence should not be taken lightly. You have every right to feel as you do and to take the actions you feel are proper. What I want to understand is whether Addison Russell can do anything to earn your forgiveness? Should Russell be allowed to play baseball for anyone? If he does, would you attend any game in which he participated?

    Since you seem to think he shouldn’t be allowed to play baseball, what line of work is acceptable to you? If he was bagging groceries at your local Kroger, would you boycott them? How about if he was washing dishes at your favorite restaurant?

    If he isn’t able to support himself through legal means because of your inability to forgive, he will have to become a ward of the state through welfare or find work in the unsavory underworld which may find himself in prison. Maybe that is what you want.

    We, as a society, like to hold grudges against people who have behaved in some anti-social way. I get that. However, we don’t seem to handle what happens next very well. It’s easy to write off people for their sins, but our prisons and streets are filled with people we have written off and then we wonder why there is so much recidivism and homelessness.

    It’s not easy to forgive, especially for certain actions, but then we have to be prepared to deal with the consequences of not forgiving.

    1. Kent Sterling Post author

      As you realize, we do not know the grocery baggers at Kroger, and we don’t pay for the privilege of shopping there. Wrigley Field has a capacity of 41,649. We pay the highest ticket prices in baseball for a variety of reasons – Cubs success, nostalgia, and our affinity for the players. My affinity for Russell is gone because he terrorized his wife. I would like him to be a former Cub as quickly as possible. The Cubs had a chance to take a stand against domestic violence and they punted in favor of keeping Russell for pragmatic reasons. That sucks.

      I don’t care how he earns a living after he is a former Cub.


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