An ugly scene reportedly unfolded in the Oakland A’s locker room that landed designated hitter Billy Butler in concussion protocol.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea and Susan Slusser, Butler was punched by A’s third basemen Danny Valencia during an altercation and suffered a concussion from the hit to the head.
According to the Chronicle, the fight broke out after Butler interrupted Valencia’s conversation with an equipment representative who was talking to Valencia about wearing off-brand shoes, a breach of his contract.
From the Chronicle:
“Butler allegedly told the representative that the company should drop Valencia’s endorsement deal. (Endorsement deals are typically worth between $10,000 and $20,000, sometimes more.)
“After the rep departed, the witnesses said, Valencia confronted Butler and told him, ‘Don’t you ever loud-talk me in front of a rep. That was wrong,’ and walked aggressively toward Butler, who turned, took a couple of steps toward Valencia and, according to both witnesses, said, ‘I can say whatever I want, and your b**** a** isn’t going to do anything about it.'”
That’s when the two began fighting before teammates broke it up.
The A’s have downplayed the situation, but it’s a bad look nonetheless. GM David Forst said (via ESPN), “There was an altercation in the clubhouse, we’re aware of it, both players have been disciplined and fined and we’re moving past it. That’s it. From the organisation’s standpoint, it’s resolved and we’re moving past it.”
He added, “Unfortunately, when you’re having the kind of season that we’re having, it’s a big story. If we were winning, it would be colourful, but we’re not.”
According to ESPN, Forst said, “I don’t know” when asked if teammates injuring one another is “colourful.”
Valencia said of the situation, “He’s just my teammate. I have respect for him. I hope he has respect for me.”
The situation ultimately matters little for the 53-72 A’s, but it’s an unwelcome development in a tumultuous season.
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