Adam LaRoche released a statement via his Twitter account Friday, saying he felt the need to address the controversy over his sudden retirement and "provide my perspective."
Given the suddenness of my departure and the stir it has caused in both the media and the clubhouse, I feel (cont) https://t.co/xldpeJb1Ay
— Adam LaRoche (@e3laroche) March 18, 2016
In his statement, LaRoche said that before he signed his two-year, $25 million contract with the Chicago White Sox last year, "my first question to the club concerned my [son Drake's] ability to be a part of the team. After some due diligence on the club's part, we reached an agreement" and there were no problems with his son's presence in the clubhouse in 2015.
Then White Sox executive vice president Kenny Williams advised LaRoche this spring that he had to "scale back" the amount of time his son spent in the clubhouse.
"Later, I was told not to bring him to the ballpark at all," LaRoche said. "Obviously, I expressed my displeasure toward this decision to alter the agreement we had reached before I signed with the White Sox.
"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."
LaRoche said in his statement that the 2016 season "was likely to be the last year of my career, and there's no way I was going to spend it without my son."
LaRoche said his son has been in the clubhouse each of the past five seasons, with both the Washington Nationals and White Sox, "a privilege I have greatly valued."
He said he always made it clear that if his son's presence ever made a teammate, coach or manager uncomfortable, "then I would immediately address it." But he said his son never created a problem.
Ace left-hander Chris Sale and manager Robin Ventura were among the members of the White Sox to defend LaRoche and his decision Friday and both men said Drake LaRoche was mature and never presented a problem in the team's clubhouse.
Ventura said Drake LaRoche was "probably more mature than most of the guys in there [the White Sox clubhouse].
Sale said Friday that he and his teammates were lied to by Williams, who the pitcher alleges has told three different stories on why the decision was made to limit 14-year-old Drake LaRoche's access to the clubhouse.
Sale said Williams has contradicted himself, first saying that players complained about LaRoche's son being in the clubhouse, then saying it was coaches who spoke against it, and then saying the decision came down from ownership.
"We got bald-faced lied to by someone that we trust," Sale said.
"This isn't us rebelling against rules; this is us rebelling against B.S.," he added.
White Sox owner Reinsdorf told ESPN that some players have asked to meet with him about the situation and he's deciding a course of action. White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton told reporters Friday that he has talked to the Major League Baseball Players Association about potentially filing a grievance on LaRoche's behalf.
Later Friday, in a statement released to the media, Reinsdorf said the White Sox "continue to feel that it would be premature to comment at this time."
LaRoche said he understands that many people won't understand his decision to retire over this issue.
"I respect that, and all I ask is for that same level of respect in return," he said.
He ended his statement with the "advice that I left my teammates."
"In life, we're all faced with difficult decisions and will have a choice to make. 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," he wrote.