Ricketts said supporting Russell "doesn't mean it's in conflict with support of victims of domestic violence."
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said the team chose to keep shortstop Addison Russell on its roster following his suspension for violating Major League Baseball's domestic violence policy because the club wanted to "support him through the process."
The league handed Russell a 40-game suspension in October following investigations of domestic abuse against his ex-wife, Melissa Reidy. In September, Reidy released a blog post detailing a history of emotional and physical abuse. Russell will miss the first month of the upcoming season for accepting his suspension in October.
Ricketts visited Chicago's 670 The Score on Thursday morning and addressed the team's decision to re-sign Russell.
"There's no simple answer to that question," Ricketts said, per MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. "The fact is, the fact that we have decided–after talking to lots of experts, after talking to Addison multiple times, talking to the league–that we'd rather support him through the process than just cut him and let him go, that doesn't mean it's in conflict with support for victims of domestic violence. The fact is that you have a decision to make as a club. What do you think is going to be the best for the player and his family? In our case, after talking to, like I said, many experts, after talking to Addison many times, we thought the better thing for our players, for the player's family, was to see if we could help get him through this. I think that it's not an easy decision and not a decision that anyone takes lightly. It's something that every team has to decide for themselves, 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 what the league requests. So, we'll see where it goes. I think he knows the gravity of the situation. I think he knows what he has to do. Let's just hope that he follows through on promises he made to himself and the promises he made to the team."
The Cubs tendered a non-guaranteed contract to Russell on Nov. 30, which kept him from becoming a free agent. Even though the Cubs tendered Russell, it doesn't mean he will play next for the club next year. The same day, Russell released a statement apologizing to Reidy, his family, the Cubs and fans and said he was "responsible" for his actions. He said that he had complied with his MLB-MLBPA treatment plan and began meeting with a therapist before any mandated treatment was required.
Russell's teammate Ian Happ spoke to The Score on Wednesday and said that the shortstop still had "a lot of personal stuff to work on" before he possibly returns to the field. Happ added that the team would support Russell "if he's taking the proper steps."