Posted on August 25, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
Oakland Athletics designate hitter Billy Butler addressed the media Wednesday for the first time since the now infamous altercation with teammate Danny Valencia in the team’s clubhouse last Friday. The altercation came about after Butler spoke to the representative of an equipment company about Valencia. During the altercation, Valencia reportedly punched Butler in the head, resulting in a concussion that has landed Butler on the 7-day concussion DL.
“First off, I want to say to my teammates, I want to apologize for putting them through this because they didn’t deserve this,” an apologetic Butler said Wednesday. “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.” Butler says he has apologized to individual teammates, manager Bob Melvin, executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane, and GM David Forst over the past several days.
The rather contrite Butler added that both he and Valencia are to blame for the incident. “This was something that could’ve been prevented on both sides,” Butler said. “We had equal fault in this. I definitely said some things that you shouldn’t have. I definitely stepped in an area where it wasn’t my business.”
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Butler and Valencia have been teammates for parts of the last three seasons and are said to have a history of poking fun at one another, which Butler says: “most of the time is in good fun.” The two have not spoken since the incident, but Butler told the media that the two plan to do so at some point. “To say that we’re enemies is not right,” Butler says.
In his apologies to Melvin, Forst, and the front office, Butler acknowledged it was unacceptable for him to disrupt the chemistry on the team, especially as a veteran player. He hopes they can get past the issue moving forward. “”I’ve apologized to them and everything like that. I’m not trying to speak for anybody else. I don’t see it being an issue. I don’t think they really had an issue with me at all, to begin with, on this. Besides the fact I brought a distraction that brought away from the attention we’re trying to get better on the field, I think that’s not good from a veteran standpoint.”
It remains uncertain when Butler will be able to return from the concussion DL. He is eligible to do so on Monday, and will likely travel with the team to St. Louis this weekend. There he will take a concussion test, and if all goes well there’s a chance he will be activated from the DL on Monday.