PHOENIX — Multiple reports suggest that White Sox players considered a boycott of Tuesday’s game after Adam LaRoche announced his sudden retirement. Players were reportedly so upset by the front office’s request for a reduced number of appearances by LaRoche’s son, Drake, that they considered sitting out against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
F-bombs aplenty flew during the White Sox's meeting with Kenny Williams. Players so pissed they considered boycott, as @karlravechespn said.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 17, 2016
Though one White Sox player didn’t confirm or deny the reports on Thursday, he said “lots of actions were discussed.” Ultimately, White Sox players didn’t participate in their regularly scheduled workout before Tuesday’s game as a form of protest. But they did play and went on to beat the Dodgers 8-6. The White Sox — who are off on Thursday — also played on Wednesday, losing to the Milwaukee Brewers, 5-2.
“We were backing Adam in the whole aspect,” outfielder Adam Eaton said Wednesday. “That’s why we didn’t stretch. We wanted Drake in the clubhouse and we were backing Adam in every aspect. In that sense we’re going to miss him. He chose family over allowing his son to be in the clubhouse and we respect what he had to do. The man and the character that Adam LaRoche is, we’re not surprised he chose his family. He’s a God-fearing man and you have to respect that. It is what it is, a tough little go at it, but I respect his decision.”
Executive vice president Kenny Williams also confirmed a passionate response from players during LaRoche’s announcement. Multiple reports have suggested Chris Sale — who is set to make his 2016 Cactus League debut on Saturday — was one of those players most vocal about his concerns.
Williams said Wednesday he knew his decision might be an unpopular one in the clubhouse.
He said he appreciates how players rallied together in support of LaRoche.
“I really have felt really good about is we felt that they were banding together,” Williams said. “But the way that they banded together to try to protect this young man, and their teammate and everything — I told them, it’s admirable and I love the bond that’s been created.”
Williams said the club asked LaRoche to reduce the number of appearances by his son to below 50 percent. While Drake LaRoche isn’t around the White Sox 100 percent of the time, he’s often in the clubhouse and even has his own stall and jersey.
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The longtime club exec insisted the move isn’t related to the younger LaRoche’s behavior, but is rather intended to set a precedent for future players. Williams said Adam LaRoche’s contract includes no language about his son’s involvement with the team. However, CSN’s David Kaplan has reported LaRoche had a verbal agreement in place with the White Sox to allow his son to be around the club.
Just so we're clear: Sox agreed to let LaRoche have son be around 100% of the time. Condition of him agreeing to sign w/the White Sox. 100%.
— David Kaplan (@thekapman) March 17, 2016
LaRoche hasn’t addressed the topic since Tuesday when he told reporters from The Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune he would retire and was confident in his decision even though he agreed to sleep on it for a few days. Later that day, LaRoche sent out a Tweet with “#FamilyFirst” included in the message.