Joe Maddon chose not to read allegations against Addison Russell

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Cubs manager Joe Maddon has chosen to stick his head in the sand about the situation surrounding shortstop Addison Russell. Last week, Russell’s ex-wife Melisa Reidy-Russell wrote a blog post detailing years of mental and physical abuse from Addison. As a result, Major League Baseball placed Russell on administrative leave while the league continues its investigation of allegations that surfaced last year.

What are manager Joe Maddon’s thoughts on the situation? Well, he hasn’t even bothered to read the allegations against his star shortstop, per 670 The Score. Maddon said, “I’m not involved in that at all. It’s a league situation. There’s a process in place to deal with this between the players’ union and MLB and of course Addison’s involvement too. I’m totally not in that picture right now.”

Maddon continued, “Addison hasn’t written anything either. I’m going to wait until the process runs its course. I’ll get all the information needed at that point. There’s nothing I can do about it. There’s nothing I can do to help the situation at all. Like I said, there’s a process in place. I haven’t spoken to Addison yet since this has all occurred. We’ll just let it play the course out. We’ll wait for decisions to be made based on folks who actually are investigating this. I really have no involvement. I really do want to stay clear of it because there’s nothing I can do to help it.”

Defending his choice not to read Melisa’s allegations, Maddon said, “I’m not going to be swayed one way or another by reading this I really have no interest in reading this. I’m more interested in waiting for the investigation to finalize itself, and then I’ll read what’s going and what had been said once it’s been vetted properly. Anybody can write anything they want these days with social media, blogging, etc. So I’m just going to wait for it to play its course, and then I’ll try to disseminate the information based on both sides, MLB itself, along with the players’ union and getting together with Addison and his former wife, and then I’ll read the information to try to form my own opinions at that point.”

Maddon’s comments on the surface seem rational and level-headed. However, Maddon is simply abdicating his responsibility as a public-facing authority figure in baseball. He thinks that he doesn’t have to pick a side. To quote Desmond Tutu, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

This isn’t just a blog post. Last year, Melisa made an Instagram post accusing Addison of cheating on her. In the comments, Melisa’s friend accused Addison of abusing Melisa. MLB began an investigation into the situation, but Melisa ultimately chose not to cooperate, which is common among victims of abuse for a multitude of reasons. She filed for divorce, then stewed on the situation for over a year before deciding to come forward with details.

For Maddon to say, “Addison hasn’t written anything either,” is to cast heaps of doubt on Melisa’s claims. This is damaging to Melisa, who had to display tremendous courage to come forward. It is also damaging to the many people watching the situation unfold, telling them that if they were to follow in Melisa’s footsteps and out their own abusers, they will be summarily discredited and not believed. Maddon’s comments reinforce baseball’s toxic culture which favors abusers over victims, something MLB is obviously trying to change with its recent amendments to the domestic violence policy.

MLB has made laudable efforts in recent years to open its arms more to women, people of color, the LGBQTIA community, and other marginalized groups. Its last two World Series winners — the Astros and Cubs — keep stepping on rakes, threatening to undo the progress that has been made. During the offseason, MLB needs to instruct players, coaches, and front office personnel how to appropriately talk about sensitive issues like domestic violence. And Maddon needs to sit in the front row for that seminar.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.