Union members should put their names to A-Rod criticism

David Brown
Big League Stew

Yahoo's own Tim Brown and Jeff Passan report that officers in the Major League Baseball Players Association are not happy with Alex Rodriguez. He's suing the union, along with Major League Baseball, in the wake of Rodriguez losing his suspension arbitration related to performance-enhancing drugs.

It figures that A-Rod wasn't the most popular guy in the union already. Throw in a lawsuit against your "brothers" and it makes the "brothers" want to scream. Of the 40 players and board members on a recent conference call where the suit was discussed, none of them reportedly supported A-Rod. In fact, they all seemed to want to kick him out of the MLBPA.

Another player was just as blunt, but more sensationalistic. If they can't kick A-Rod out, can they bully him into leaving?

“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.”

Of course, the player who said "Hit him and hit him hard" would not put his name to the quote.

Understandable, though Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers — while addressing the NFL's Richard Sherman a day earlier — talked about Sherman needing to face a "high and tight fastball" if he acted like that and was a baseball player. It might be a little disturbing, this violence streak some major leaguers have.

Earlier in the Brown-Passan post, two other player spoke less violently and yet they wouldn't put their names to the A-Rod criticism, either. So, to get this straight, everyone is against A-Rod, nobody likes him and everyone wants him gone, but nobody in the union is willing to say so with full disclosure. Way to take a stand, guys.

Perhaps it's because part of the players wonder if A-Rod is justified in his actions of suing the union. True, he has acted clumsily and insensitively in singling out former executive director Michael Weiner, a universally liked figure, so it seems. But if the union had decided a different course of action with the other players connected to Biogenesis, then Rodriguez — who has the most to lose because his suspension was the longest — might have had a better chance fighting it, he probably thinks.

It should be noted: A-Rod must sue the MLBPA and MLB to make his case legal. He can't sue one and not the other. Players in the union don't seem to realize this.

The union in recent years has given an awful lot of ground to ownership on the PED issue, notably in the sphere of analytical positives. Would Don Fehr have submitted to the commissioner's office like this? Would Marvin Miller? It's at least worth a discussion. The players, it seems, would rather wish A-Rod away than confront the possibility that their union leadership has made a mistake.

They need to do one of two things: Put their names to the A-Rod torch mob, or get behind his suit. Either would be better than what they're doing.

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David Brown edits Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rdbrown@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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