"Everyone is entitled to doing whatever they want to do, think whatever they want to think, say whatever they want to say," Russell said Friday morning. "The reaction to me, I have to respect that. My actions are what they are. I have to be responsible for them."
Russell, 25, recently returned from a 40-game suspension for violating the league's policy on domestic abuse stemming from his former marriage. After hearing boos before his first at-bat Wednesday night, he said, "If hometown fans want to boo someone that's trying to help bring the team a World Series again, then that's on them."
That statement brought a new round of criticism, which led to him addressing about 20 reporters before the Cubs took on the Milwaukee Brewers.
"I have nothing but respect for the fans," Russell said. "It's a goal to get the respect of the fans back. I just wish it could be on different terms."
There was much less booing of Russell on Friday at Wrigley Field. He drew loud cheers after doubling in the seventh inning, his first hit since returning, and finished 1-for-3 with a walk in the Cubs' 7-0 loss.
Russell was suspended in September and has gone through league-mandated counseling as part of the conditions for his return to the majors. The Cubs called him up before Wednesday's game, when Russell reiterated his commitment to the team, family and fans. Friday probably won't be the last time he will have to explain himself, as he hasn't played a road game since his return.
"There's going to be a lot more adversity moving forward, for sure," he said.