Shortly after the Chicago White Sox announced the hiring of Tony La Russa as their new manager, news broke that La Russa was arrested with driving under the influence in Arizona in February. La Russa's blood-alcohol content was 0.08. The arrest marks La Russa's second known DUI; he was arrested and later pleaded guilty in Florida in 2007. The 76-year-old La Russa tried to talk his way out of the arrest, according to a police report.
The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reports that a team spokesperson confirmed they were aware of La Russa's arrest before hiring him.
On Thursday, the White Sox released their first statement regarding the incident. Via The Athletic's James Fegan:
As Tony La Russa's attorney said in a statement, Tony deserves all the assumptions and protections granted to everyone in a court of law, especially while this is a pending matter. Once his case reaches resolution in the courts, we will have more to say. The White Sox understand the seriousness of these charges.
Fegan also provided the statement from La Russa's attorney:
The legal process in Arizona, which began in February, has been delayed as a result of COVID-19. This matter should have come to a conclusion several months ago.
The process is continuing, but my client, Mr. Tony La Russa, is entitled to all the assumptions and protections afforded to anyone facing an accusation. It would be unfair and unwise for anyone outside the process to reach conclusions based on limited information.
Given the ongoing nature of the proceedings, it would be inappropriate to say anything further at this time. I have faith in our system of justice and look forward to working within that system on behalf of my client.
The charges were filed Oct. 28 in Maricopa County Justice Courts, the day before the White Sox announced La Russa as the team's new manager. La Russa has not commented on the issue directly. When reached by ESPN by phone, he hung up after saying, "I have nothing to say."