On January 13th, 40 players and board members of the MLB Players Association met on a conference call and requested that Alex Rodriguez be suspended from the union, according to Tim Brown and Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. A-Rod recently sued MLB and the MLBPA due to a breach in conduct by inadequately representing him in court during the case that resulted in his 162-game suspension for 2014. MLBPA chief and former teammate Tony Clark has already said that was "inexcusable" for A-Rod to attack former chief Michael Weiner, who passed away in November, for supposedly failing to represent him.
Needless to say, the players in the union are furious that A-Rod would betray his "brothers," as Brown and Passan reported. Immediately after the start of the January 13th union meeting, a player asked union leadership if they could expel him from the union. Many other players agreed and not a single one of them defended A-Rod's lawsuit. Union leadership told them that unfortunately it was not possible for them to kick him out. One player summed up the call by saying, "We wanted to get on this call and not let him back. 'This is our game and we don't want you in it.'"
If A-Rod does indeed return for the 2015 season, players on the call hinted that there could be serious on-field repercussions for him, and one told Brown and Passan that A-Rod "needs to be scared of coming back and facing people he sued." Yikes. So basically, if A-Rod returns, expect more Ryan Dempster incidents. Lovely.
While it's disappointing that A-Rod is indeed suing the union, what the players seem to not realize is that if A-Rod wants to attempt to reverse his suspension, he has no choice but to sue the union as well as MLB (as noted by former lawyer Wendy Thurm on Twitter). Here's another former lawyer-turned-baseball writer, Craig Calcaterra, with more on the actual laws of the whole ordeal:
A-Rod’s suit comes pursuant to Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act or the "LMRA." Here is what the law has to say about suing your union in such cases:
When union members sue their employer for breach of contract under section 301 of the LMRA, they must also state a prerequisite claim of breach of their union’s duty of fair representation. See Vaca v. Sipes, 386 U.S. 171, 186-87 (1967); Thomas v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., 890 F.2d 909, 914-16 (7th Cir. 1989). This is because ordinarily, union members must first use the grievance procedures specified in the CBA rather than directly sue the employer; only when the union has breached its duty to fairly represent the union members in that grievance process may the union members bring a claim against their employer. See, e.g., DelCostello v. Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters, 462 U.S. 151, 163-64 (1983).
It’s not a choice by A-Rod, and certainly not a "sin." His effort to sue MLB and overturn his arbitration award REQUIRES that he sue the union as well. If not, he has no claim at all.
Calcaterra also mentioned today that if the players were successful, they would have "functionally prohibited appeals from arbitrations." It seems like the players don't fully realize the potential repercussions of their actions, so it's probably a good thing that they have smarter guys than them running the show in the MLBPA.
Just add another dark chapter to the A-Rod saga with this whole story. It will be a great screenplay someday. Who will star as who though? If they don't get Joe Pesci to star as Joe Tacopina, then it will all be in vain.