In lieu of participating in a fan session at Cubs Convention, Tom Ricketts made the media rounds Thursday morning to discuss the team’s budget and the respective futures of Joe Maddon and Addison Russell. The latter of those has been slightly more controversial, what with his recent arbitration settlement coming in the wake of a 40-game domestic violence suspension.
So how are the Cubs balancing their continued employment of Russell with a stated desire to be “part of the solution?”
“Well, there’s no simple answer to that question,” Ricketts told 670 The Score’s Mully & Haugh (Russell talk starts around the 8:20 mark in player below). “The fact is, we decided after a lot of talking to a lot of experts, after talking to Addison multiple times, after talking to the league, that we’d rather support him through the process than just cut him or let him go.
“Doesn’t mean it’s in conflict with support for victims of domestic violence. And the fact is we have a decision to make as a club: What do you think is going to be best for the player and his family? And in our case…we thought the better thing for the player, for the player’s family, was to see if we could help him get through this.”
I’d love to come up with something really articulate here, some unique insight that becomes the go-to take on the topic moving forward. But the fact is, as Ricketts would say, I’m not sure I’ve got the capacity for anything more than I’ve already shared. I believe the Cubs can help Russell to improve as a human being without also paying him. And yes, I understand they’re not paying him during his suspension.
I also realize that a few months is not enough time for an abuser to rehabilitate their behavioral patterns. Maybe a change of scenery and a longer break from baseball would be better. But it’s not my call and it’s something I’ve got to explain.
“It’s not an easy decision and it’s not a decision that anyone takes lightly, it’d be something that every team had to decide for themselves,” Ricketts said. “But I do give a lot of credit to Major League Baseball for having good protocols and policies on this. There was a process for him. He’s already begun doing some of the things that the league requests, and he’s doing things beyond — much beyond — what the league requests.”
If he completes the process, he’ll be back…somewhere.
“And now it’s in his court,” Ricketts continued. “We’ll see where it goes. I think he knows the gravity of the situation and I think he knows what he has to do and let’s just hope that he follows through on the promises that he made to himself and the promises he made to the team.”
I guess that depends on what those promises were.