The wife of Chicago Cubs infielder Addison Russell has filed for divorce after 18 months of marriage, but will not cooperate with Major League Baseball’s investigation into domestic abuse allegations against Russell. MLB began investigating earlier in June when Melisa Russell accused her husband of cheating in an Instagram post and a friend commented about potential physical and mental abuse by Addison. The post has since been deleted. According to a statement released by the law firm representing Melisa, “It is her desire to pursue a resolution that is, first and foremost, in the best interest of the parties’ son, and which occurs in a swift, amicable and private fashion.” Melisa is seeking full custody of a son and child support.
Addison denies all allegations, calling them “false and hurtful” two weeks ago. He is fighting these allegations, as Major League Baseball has strict policies in place to punish those accused of domestic violence. For example, New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman was suspended for 30 games under the policy last year. Other players that have been slapped with suspensions under the domestic violence policy include New York Mets closer Jeurys Familia, Mets infielder Jose Reyes and Atlanta Braves outfielder Hector Olivera. In 2015, a change was made where the commissioner of baseball is allowed to dictate punishment even if law enforcement does not.
Currently, after the Cubs suspended Russell for one game, he was allowed to continue playing regularly. The investigation will continue regardless of Melisa’s involvement, and there is precedent for punishment being handed down without the other partner cooperating, such as in the cases of Reyes and Familia, whose partners both dropped charges. MLB is also busy in investigating claims of domestic abuse by an ex-girlfriend leveled against Tampa Bay Rays catcher Derek Norris.