Chicago White Sox pitching ace Chris Sale ripped team president Kenny Williams on Friday, saying the executive lied to the players about the situation that led to the retirement of designated hitter Adam LaRoche.
LaRoche retired Tuesday after Williams requested the veteran not bring his 14-year-old son into the clubhouse on a daily basis. Drake LaRoche was a fixture around the team last season in his father's first season with the organization.
Sale and his teammates are irate over how the situation was handled.
"Lying, plain and simple. We got bold-faced lied to by someone we're supposed to be able to trust," Sale told reporters in reference to Williams. "You can't come tell the players it was the coaches and tell the coaches it's the players and then come in and say something completely different.
"If we're all here to win a championship, this kind of stuff doesn't happen. Like I said, we're not rebelling against the rules. It has nothing to do with the rules."
Sale spoke with uniforms of both Adam and Drake LaRoche flanking him. He said he believes the situation would have been handled differently if manager Robin Ventura had been allowed to make the decision.
"I think Robin was the right person to handle this and he was handcuffed," Sale said.
White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf weighed in Friday after Sale's strong comments.
"While we appreciate everyone's attention and interest, we continue to feel that it would be premature to comment at this time," Reinsdorf said in a statement.
"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."
Williams had little to say in his own team-released statement.
"While I disagree with Chris' assertions today, I certainly have always appreciated his passion," Williams said.
LaRoche released a statement Friday in which he made it clear he had no regrets over the decision to retire.
"In life, we're all faced with difficult decisions and will have a choice to make," LaRoche said. "Do we act based on the consequences, or do we act on what we know and believe in our hearts to be right? I choose the latter."
LaRoche said Drake's ability to be around on a daily basis was part of the negotiations when he signed with the White Sox prior to the 2015 season. He said Williams first asked him to "scale back the time" his son spent in the clubhouse, and later requested he not bring him to the ballpark at all.
"Obviously, I expressed my displeasure toward this decision to alter the agreement we had reached before I signed with the White Sox," LaRoche said. "Upon doing so, I had to make a decision. Do I choose my teammates and my career? Or do I choose my family? The decision was easy, but in no way was it a reflection of how I feel about my teammates, manager, general manager or the club's owner, Jerry Reinsdorf.
"The White Sox organization is full of people with strong values and solid character. My decision to walk away was simply the result of a fundamental disagreement between myself and Ken Williams."
Sale said the White Sox were experiencing a good training campaign and the momentum has been derailed. He said Williams created a problem that didn't need to arise.
Sale also said the players are still trying to figure out what the truth is, and he made it clear this isn't a case of not wanting to follow club policies.
"This isn't us rebelling against rules," Sale said. "This is us rebelling against BS."
LaRoche was due to receive $13 million this season. He batted just .207 with 12 homers and 44 RBIs last season while earning $12 million.