Addison Russell's ex-wife speaks publicly for first time since alleging abuse

Torrey HartYahoo Sports Contributor
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/9604/" data-ylk="slk:Addison Russell">Addison Russell</a>’s ex-wife says she wasn’t ready to speak about his alleged abuse when she was approached in 2017. (AP Photo)
Addison Russell’s ex-wife says she wasn’t ready to speak about his alleged abuse when she was approached in 2017. (AP Photo)

For the first time since posting her blog alleging Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell subjected her to emotional and physical abuse, Russell’s ex-wife Melisa Reidy has spoken publicly about the situation. 

She told ESPN’s Jesse Rogers that she “wasn’t ready” to discuss the allegations back in 2017 when Major League Baseball first approached her and began investigating Russell following her Instagram post alleging his infidelity, on which a friend published a comment accusing Russell of hitting Reidy in front of their children.

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“My lawyers thought I wasn’t prepared, emotionally,” Reidy told Rogers of the 2017 incident. When MLB opened an investigation, she told them she wanted to wait until after the pair’s divorce was finalized. Even after the divorce, however, Reidy says she continued to stay quiet because her lawyers told her it wasn’t in “her or her child’s best financial interests to cooperate.”

Melisa Reidy began documenting her experiences months ago

Reidy revealed that she had been keeping a written account of her experiences since June 10, and re-wrote her blog post multiple times before deciding to post it last week.

“I didn’t really have a date where I was thinking, ‘I’m going to write this blog and post it on this day,'” Reidy said. “But if felt good for me to write it down.

“The night I posted that, it was not planned. It was pretty late. Lying in bed one night, it just popped in my head so I grabbed my phone and prayed.

“I wanted to help someone else. I knew my words could benefit someone out there. I was able to overcome this at my age. I thought so many women could be impacted by it. God gave me the courage to do it. I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong so I posted it. My boyfriend was like holding my hand, I was like, ‘I’m doing this, I can’t believe I am.’ I never felt like such a weight lifted off my shoulders.”

Reidy wants to help other women in her situation

MLB initially placed Russell, 24, on administrative leave after the blog post went live last week, and later extended it through the rest of the regular season. As the investigation progresses, Reidy says she feels need to speak out on behalf of other women in her situation.

“It wasn’t sitting right with me,” Reidy said. “I took it upon myself to do what I needed to do regardless what could happen, financially. I know that I’m going to be OK … I shouldn’t have to feel like I can’t speak out to help someone else, in order to protect someone that hurt me.”

“If I was wanting to be the one to put that all out there I would have done it a long time ago,” she said. “This is to help others.”

Russell has repeatedly denied the allegations, calling them “completely false” in his most recent statement. But Reidy reiterated in the ESPN interview that Russell abused her both emotionally and physically, and that reporting the abuse “wasn’t an option” at the time it occurred.

“Even during our marriage and divorce, he would try to tell me, ‘That never happened.’ I was like, ‘How are you telling me something never happened when it happened?’ He was trying to convince me that I was crazy.

“I almost started to believe him. People are good at manipulating others. And when you’ve been manipulated for so long you start to believe the lies. You have to tell yourself, you know what is right and what is wrong.”

“That wasn’t an option at that time,” she said. “I loved my husband a lot. I even made excuses for him. And there’s such an embarrassment.”

Reidy doesn’t blame Cubs, calls for teams to do better

While she doesn’t fault the Cubs specifically for placing a strain on her and Russell’s relationship, Reidy noted that she wishes professional sports organizations would do more for families – especially young ones.

“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.”

To punish a player under its domestic violence policy, MLB does not require the “beyond a reasonable doubt” burden of proof seen in criminal courts. The league only needs enough evidence to conclude that the player likely committed the abuse, but the player has the right to appeal any punishment in front of an independent arbitrator.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported earlier this week that MLB has additional credible information surrounding Russell’s alleged abuse from interviews with Reidy and multiple other witnesses. The investigation is still ongoing, but Rosenthal reports that “all signs point to a suspension.”

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