Concussed Butler regrets fight with Valencia: We 'are not enemies'
After taking a few days to get his mental faculties back, Oakland Athletics designated hitter Billy Butler publicly apologized Wednesday for his role in last week's clubhouse fight with teammate Danny Valencia, which left him with a concussion and a great deal of embarrassment.
"First off, I want to say to my teammates, I want to apologize for putting them through this because they didn’t deserve this," Butler told reporters ahead of his club's series finale against the Cleveland Indians. "This was an issue between me and Danny. They didn't deserve this, the coaching staff didn’t deserve this, the organization didn’t deserve this. This something that could have been prevented on both sides."
"I know I regret what I did, I think he regrets what he did," Butler said. "By no means do I think his intentions were to give me a concussion, I think that’s fair to say."
Details of the incident surfaced Monday, courtesy of Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, whose sources said the fight erupted when Butler called out Valencia for lying to an equipment representative, and told the rep to drop Valencia's endorsement deal. Here's the full report:
According to the players, the incident occurred before batting practice Friday when an equipment representative quizzed Valencia about a pair of off-brand spikes in Valencia’s locker. Valencia previously had been told not to wear those shoes in games.
Valencia told the representative that he only uses the non-issue spikes during pregame workouts. According to multiple sources, Butler, who has an equipment endorsement with a different company, jumped in to tell the equipment rep that Valencia was lying and regularly uses the non-standard spikes. 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 players 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. Butler turned around, took a couple steps toward Valencia, and according to both witnesses, said, “I can say whatever I want and your bitch ass isn’t going to do anything about it.”
One player said that the men leaned in, bumped heads and then started pushing each other, then Valencia started swinging and hit Butler in the temple. After the players broke things up, Butler told the players he was OK.
Butler, who hasn't played since the incident and was recently placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list, said he spent Tuesday apologizing to his teammates, coaches, and manager, as well as front-office personnel, but has yet to speak with Valencia.
“It was one of those things, we both had equal fault in this,” Butler said. “I definitely said some things you shouldn’t, I definitely stepped in an area you shouldn’t. That wasn’t my business.”
He added: We "are not enemies."
Prior to Wednesday, no one in Oakland's clubhouse had commented publicly on the fight, and Valencia offered a "no comment" when broached about it following Sunday's 4-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
"What happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse," Valencia said the following day. "We've handled it internally, and we're going to move on from this point. There's really not much else to it."
Both players - who spent the first half of the 2014 campaign as teammates with the Kansas City Royals - were fined an undisclosed amount for the fracas, and general manager David Forst noted Monday that, "from the organization standpoint, it's resolved."
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