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.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.