GLENDALE, Ariz. -- What started out as a surprise retirement announcement has morphed into a heated rift between players and the White Sox front office.
Veteran slugger Adam LaRoche decided to call it quits Tuesday after he was reportedly asked by Sox executive vice president Kenny Williams to scale back his 14-year-old son Drake's presence in the locker room.
In the days that followed, a number of LaRoche's teammates, past and present, were outspoken in their support for Drake and Adam - using the hashtag #FamilyFirst.
Some reports indicate the team even considered boycotting one of their games.
But the situation reached a boiling point in a clubhouse meeting with Williams, who Sox ace Chris Sale says misled the team about the reasoning behind his decision to have Drake's involvement curtailed.
Sale said the players “got bold-faced lied to by someone we are supposed to be able to trust.”
"We were rolling. We had positive energy in here. Nobody saw anything as a distraction until all this happened," he said. "This isn’t us rebelling against rules. This is kind of us rebelling against B.S."
Sale, who has since hung a jersey for both Adam and Drake LaRoche in his locker, went on to say that the wrong guy walked out of the locker room.
Williams did not wish to comment on this situation, providing only this statement:
"While I disagree with Chris' assertions today, I certainly have always appreciated his passion."
Adam Eaton says he is taking the issue a step further.
The team's MLBPA rep indicated he is now getting the union involved, citing a clause in LaRoche's contract that allowed his son locker room access.
The team will reportedly meet with White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf in the coming days to discuss the situation.
Many players believe that even if the front office changes their mind about Drake, LaRoche's mind is made up and that he won't return to the team.
"My decision to walk away was simply the result of a fundamental disagreement between myself and Ken Williams," LaRoche said in a statement Friday. You can read his full statement here.
White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf also issued a statement:
"While we appreciate everyone’s attention and interest, we continue to feel that it would be premature to comment at this time. This is an internal issue, and we are in the process of holding a number of discussions with players, staff and the front office. As a result, we do not want to comment until that process is completed. I have instructed members of the organization not to talk about this issue and get our focus back on the field and winning baseball games."