Adam La Roche officially retired from the Chicago White Sox after a disagreement about his son spending time at the clubhouse. La Roche claims that Vice President Ken Williams broke a verbal agreement about his son being able to spend time at the clubhouse.
La Roche asked if his son could be a part of the team before he signed his contract with the White Sox. Manager Robin Ventura confirmed that they talked about it and came to an agreement about La Roche’s son being able to come and spend time at the clubhouse. La Roche said it was a “privilege he greatly valued,” and one of the reasons he chose to sign with the team.
While Williams claims he simply asked La Roche to scale back the time his son spent at the clubhouse to less than 50%, La Roche tells a different story. He says that he was first asked to not bring his son as often, and he was later told not to bring him to the clubhouse at all. La Roche felt he had to choose between his career and his team, or his family. He chose his family.
La Roche isn’t the only one who had an issue with what happened. Pitcher Chris Sale was quoted as saying “Somebody walked out that door the other day, and it was the wrong guy, plain and simple.”
While it wasn’t in La Roche’s contract, it was an oral agreement that was witnessed by several people in the clubhouse. The entire team stands behind La Roche’s decision. It does raise the question, however, about the legality of oral contracts.
Employment lawyers say that oral contracts can be enforceable. A party can sue someone for not upholding a contract whether the contract is written or verbal. However, they must be able to prove the oral contract exists. Texts, emails, and witnesses can all be used to prove the existence of an oral contract. This allows a judge or jury to award damages if the contract is proved to have been breached.