HAWL IN: When looking at the Addison Russell situation, first listen

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 07: Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell (27) comes off of the field during a MLB interleague game between the Chicago Cubs and the Kansas City Royals on August 07, 2018, at Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, MO. Chicago won, 5-0. (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

CHICAGO — For the die-hard Chicago Cubs fan, casual observer, or even someone who knows nothing about the team, it was a jarring essay that came out Thursday night.

Melisa Reidy-Russell, the ex-wife of Cubs shortstop Addison Russell, released a blog detailing allegations of both physical and mental abuse.

Cubs president Theo Epstein called it “disturbing” and reached out to Major League Baseball soon after reading it.

On Friday, MLB put Russell on administrative leave, which keeps him off the team for the next seven days with the ability to extend that an additional seven days.

Later that night, the shortstop issued a statement in which he denied the allegations in the essay. 

Since the essay came out, opinions have naturally been quick and strong. Many have called for immediate and swift punishment for Russell, yet Epstein said the club cannot act while the MLB investigation continues, per the rules set in the collectively bargained domestic violence policy.

As Russell’s fate is decided and the facts are sorted out, many fans are wondering how to handle such scathing accusations against Russell, which first emerged with an Instagram post back in 2017.

Here’s a suggestion: Listen and learn about both those who’ve dealt with domestic violence and the organizations in place to help them out.

Like others, I cannot understand what those who go through abuse have to deal with on a daily basis. Make an attempt to learn, make an attempt to listen to what people go through, and try to figure out which ways one can help — with both actions and words.

Keep an open mind to those who must deal with the situations on a daily basis to keep the conversation going.

Writer Caitlin Swieca did so in 2016 following the Cubs’ acquisition of Aroldis Chapman after his league suspension for violation of MLB’s domestic violence policy. She donated money for every save made by the reliever, from late July through the World Series.

By doing so, Domestic Violence Legal Clinic in Chicago earned money. To learn more about the organization’s extensive work helping victims of abuse, visit their website: www.dvlcchicago.org.

Dian Schultz on Twitter suggested those in need of help or information reach out the National Domestic Violence Helpline at 1-800-799-7233.

There are many others out there in Chicago who can offer help for domestic violence abuse victims, while also educating those looking for ways to understand what others are going through.

If you know of an organization, reach out to me at chawley@wgntv.com. I will post it here. It’s one way to make good out of a dark situation.

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