Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell addressed the media for the first time since his ex-wife, Melisa Reidy, made domestic abuse allegations against him last September.
Per USA Today's Bob Nightengale, Russell offered an apology to Reidy and expressed his desire to be held accountable for everything that has transpired.
"I'm accountable for my past actions," he said. "I want to own my actions. I want to be accountable for the hurt and pain I have caused Melisa. I'm truly sorry."
Reidy wrote on her official blog that Russell was emotionally and physically abusive toward her during their marriage:
"The first time I was physically mistreated by my spouse, I was in shock. I couldn’t wrap my head around what just happened. ... Why did he get so angry? What did I do for him to want to put his hands on me?
"Of course I forgave him & assumed it would never happen again. I just thought he had let his emotions get the best of him, he loves me and he’s sorry. I was deeply hurt that he could even be capable of this behavior towards me, I couldn’t understand how the man I was so in love with, the FATHER of my child, the man I married just a few months ago could show such aggression towards me."
In October, Major League Baseball announced a 40-game suspension for Russell retroactive to Sept. 21 and ordered him to take part in a "confidential and comprehensive evaluation and treatment program."
Russell spoke about his experience with counseling on Friday:
"I had time to reflect, through counseling. I have a better understanding what domestic abuse really is. I truly believe that I’m not proud of the person I once was, but through counseling, I’m able to identify my feelings a lot better. I believe that person is in the past. ... I’m committed to my work right now, and already I’m seeing the benefits that come with that, to my family and my children."
The Cubs tendered Russell a contract in November before the two sides agreed to an incentive-based contract last month.
Russell will be eligible to return from his suspension on May 3. The Cubs will open the 2019 season on March 28 against the Texas Rangers.