On a conference call of perhaps 40 players and board members held Jan. 13 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., outraged union members repeatedly requested that Rodriguez be expelled, sources to Yahoo! Sports. Following a roll call of players on the call, according to one participant and another familiar with the call, the first player to speak asked bluntly: Can we kick him out of the union?
More players expressed the same sentiments even after union officials said it could not be done. One player said Rodriguez, who has been suspended for the upcoming season for using performance-enhancing drugs, did not receive any support in a forum where there are frequent disagreements.
“That’s what everyone was thinking,” the player said. “We wanted to get on this call and not let him back. [To say,] ‘This is our game and we don’t want you in it.'”
Rodriguez included the Major League Baseball Players Association in the suit claiming the union “completely abdicated its responsibility” to him. Late union chief Michael Weiner was also accused of failing to properly represent Rodriguez. It was harsh but legally necessary. Rodriguez had no chance of getting the ruling overturned in a federal court without claiming the union didn’t help him during his appeal hearing.
But members of the union felt Rodriguez had turned on his fellow players.
“It’s beyond disappointment,” said a player involved in union leadership who was on the conference call. “What brought it beyond disappointment was the fact he’s suing the union. Guys understand people make bad decisions, they lie when they’re embarrassed or trying to avoid punishment. Those are human qualities. Guys understand. But what made guys incensed is he would bring a suit against the union.”
“When he gets up to bat, you can hit him and hit him hard,” one player on the conference call told Yahoo! Sports. “That’s what I’d do. He sued us. Jhonny Peralta and Nelson Cruz screwed up. You know what? They owned up to it. They took their medicine.
“[Rodriguez] needs to be scared of coming back and facing people he sued. If he can’t fear the wrath of getting kicked out or not being included, he’s going to be forced out.”