It took all of two days for the next wave of negative news to surround Addison Russell after his return to Chicago.
Russell — who's starting for the Cubs again Friday against the Brewers — was immediately inserted into the lineup Wednesday night in his first game back after his 40-game suspension for domestic abuse. Throughout that evening, fans voiced their displeasure with Russell, as he received boos each time his name was announced.
When asked about that fan reaction the next day by the Chicago Sun-Times' Steve Greenberg, Russell said:
“I’m a baseball player for the Chicago Cubs. I’m one of the dudes in this clubhouse. I’m one of the guys who goes out there and puts his [body] on the line. We do it because we love it. We want to win, and we want to bring another championship to Chicago. And if hometown fans want to boo someone that’s trying to help bring the team a World Series again, then that’s on them.”
Russell spoke again Friday morning and walked those comments back, saying he was not criticizing Cubs fans in the Sun-Times interview and does not have any issue with fans voicing their negative opinion:
"Everyone's entitled to doing what they want to do, thinking whatever they want to think, saying whatever they want to say," Russell said. "The reaction to me, I have to respect that. My actions are what they are and I have to be responsible for them.
"I have nothing but respect for the fans. It's a goal to get the respect of the Cubs fans back. So having said that, it's just out of respect for them. I have nothing but respect for them. I just wish that it could be on different terms, you know? Just continuing to get better and know that it's not always gonna be good."
Russell also said he understands everything he says publicly through the media will be heavily scrutinized, as it should be. Just because Russell is back in the big leagues does not mean he has passed all the tests or reached some ultimate level of redemption, and Theo Epstein stressed earlier this week this is still a conditional second chance.
As long as Russell is in the big leagues, he will be asked constantly about the entire situation by Chicago media, national media and visiting media. He will hear negative comments from Cubs fans and opposing fans. He will be met with reactions at Wrigley Field and on the road and away from the ballpark.
There's no escaping this now, though Russell insists when he's on the field, he blocks out all the negative noise.
"I know what I said [Thursday], but I haven't read into the negative comments," Russell said. "When I like to speak, it's coming from the heart. What I want to say is I respect the fans for whatever they think. They're definitely entitled to that.
"It's just the way that I have to be out on the field — it's a completely different thought process of what the fan thinks. I have to deliver. I have to focus. The fans may not like it, but I have to do what I have to do."
Russell may not have seen or read the negative reaction to his Thursday quotes, but does he understand how people are emotional about his return to the field?
"Totally understand. I totally understand," he said. "It's a serious issue. What can I do? Get better day by day. That's all I can do. And be the example of a person that's trying to make things right."Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Cubs easily on your device.