Alex Rodriguez’s ongoing appeal case against Major League Baseball was bound to be acrimonious, but few could have anticipated that the battle between each side’s lawyers would become physical.
But that’s exactly what happened two weeks ago, when the New York Yankees slugger’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, had to be physically restrained during an altercation with Julio Ayala, one of the attorneys defending key MLB witness and Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch.
The alleged incident took place during the first week of arbitration for Rodriguez’s appeal of the 211-game suspension handed down by MLB officials for his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs, the New York Daily News reports. According to the sources, Tacopina assailed Bosch’s credibility throughout the first week of arbitration, specifically targeting the witness’ verification of several documents that allegedly prove Rodriguez’s use of PEDs.
During a break in the proceedings, Tacopina reportedly grew irritated at the amount of time spent on Bosch’s testimony, and asked one of MLB’s lawyers how long he planned on keeping the witness on the stand. When the lawyer responded that Bosch would testify for several more hours, Tacopina responded, “Well, I guess we have all of October, and by then Mr. Bosch will be jail." A-Rod’s lawyer was referencing the ongoing federal investigation into the Bosch and the practices of the Biogenesis clinic.
Tacopina’s retort drew the ire of Ayala, who responded in similar fashion. “If he is [going to jail], he is not going alone,” Ayala said, the Daily News reported.
According to the Daily News, Tacopina responded by making a colorful remark about Ayala’s “lying wife,” who happens to be another of Bosch’s lawyers. A-Rod’s lawyer, a former hockey player, then “bull-rushed” Ayala, who refused to back down. The other lawyers managed to keep the altercation from turning physical, and the hearing resumed without incident.
Bosch and Rodriguez weren’t privy to the alleged altercation between their lawyers. According to the Daily News, both men were using the bathroom at the time of the near-brawl. Neither Tacopina nor Ayala has issued a comment on the situation.
Rodriguez’s PED suspension appeal is scheduled to continue on Wednesday.