No, Thom Brennaman, Addison Russell did not have to “suffer” through his domestic violence suspension.
The Reds announcer had an incredibly poor and callous choice of words to talk about the Cubs shortstop’s suspension from Major League Baseball on Sunday. Brennaman’s comments about Russell’s 40-game suspension came as Russell was up to bat in the second inning and was part of a theme of the shortstop’s struggles in 2019.
Here's the video of Thom Brennaman and Jeff Brantley talking about Addison Russell, the suspension he had to "suffer" through and "a lot of other things" around him. pic.twitter.com/pjIe5v8INj
— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) June 30, 2019
“He is going to be one of the more interesting players to watch through the rest of this year and really moving forward in his career,” Brennaman, who also works NFL games for Fox, said. “Because there are a lot of other things going on around him. He had to suffer through a suspension that had to do with a domestic situation and this guy was the number one ranked minor league player in all of professional baseball three years ago coming up through the Oakland Athletics farm system. He comes to the Cubs and even though his batting average numbers have never been very good he knocked in 95 runs in 2016. And he has been blessed with an extraordinary amount of talent. But between suspensions, injuries, whatever else is going on around him, he is a shadow of the player he was even two years ago.”
Brennaman’s partner Jeff Brantley then added that baseball success wasn’t only about physical attributes and that “Your ability to mentally overcome obstacles allows you to stay here.”
The person who had to suffer and overcome obstacles was Russell’s ex-wife. Russell and Melissa Reidy divorced in 2018 and Reidy detailed the mental and physical abuse she said she had received from Russell in a September blog post. Russell was soon put on administrative leave by the league and then suspended 40 games for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy in October.
Because he was such a high prospect — as Brennaman made sure to point out — Russell got another chance from the Cubs when his suspension was over and was reinstated in May. He entered Sunday’s game with a .734 OPS, a mark that’s just .004 lower than his OPS in his 2016 All-Star season. Had Russell been a lesser player, the Cubs might have parted ways with him and no one else would have signed him. He could have “suffered” a lot more. Instead, he’s still playing at the top level of professional baseball.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports
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