Melisa Reidy-Russell, ex-wife of Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell, said in an interview with ESPN’s Jesse Rogers that she will cooperate with MLB’s domestic violence investigation of her ex-husband now that their divorce is finalized. The divorce became official at the end of August, and earlier this month Reidy-Russell published a blog post detailing mental and physical abuse that, she wrote, was inflicted by Russell upon her during their marriage. Russell denies the allegations.
In the interview, Reidy-Russell explains why she didn’t cooperate with MLB’s investigation last year, when a comment was left on her Instagram account saying Russell abused her. Reidy-Russell said her lawyers told her they didn’t believe she was emotionally prepared to handle the MLB inquest and that such a decision might not be in the best financial interest of herself and her and Russell’s young son. She finally decided to speak out because staying silent “wasn’t sitting right with me.” Reidy-Russell didn’t go into further details about abuse in her marriage, but did speak to other people who are in abusive relationships.
Reidy-Russell broke down several times in retelling her story. She said it was partly inspired by the #metoo movement. She says she’s found herself again, which is part of the message she says she’s trying to convey to women who feel overwhelmed in their situations.
“Prioritize yourself,” she advised. “You can’t think about other people. Take a deep breath and remind yourself, ‘You’re fine.’ I told myself, ‘One day at a time, one day at a time.’ It’s important to remind yourself you are important and how you feel is important.”
She also explained why she never called the police, saying, “That wasn’t an option at that time. I loved my husband a lot. I even made excuses for him. And there’s such an embarrassment.”
She offered this advice for sports leagues that are still trying to figure out how to handle reports of domestic violence:
“I hope that organizations that are family-oriented will do better in having some kind of system to help victims of domestic abuse, help them transition from what they are going through. Baseball is very, very stressful. It takes a toll on a relationship. Not everyone knows how to work through things. That could be huge.”
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