The verbal fisticuffs of Alex Rodriguez‘s appeals process nearly escalated into a full-blown brawl.
Rodriguez’s fiery defense attorney, Joseph Tacopina, “had to be physically restrained” from attempting to fight one of the representatives of Major League Baseball star witness Anthony Bosch during a hearing at MLB’s New York offices, sources told the New York Daily News.
According to the newspaper’s sources, Tacopina became frustrated early on in the proceedings with the amount of time being dedicated to the testimony of Bosch, the founder of the Biogenesis clinic that allegedly distributed steroids to Rodriguez and other major leaguers.
Tacopina reportedly asked an MLB attorney how much longer Bosch’s testimony would take, sparking an altercation between Tacopina and Julio Ayala, one of Bosch’s lawyers. The Daily News’ account of the exchange is as follows.
The attorney, the sources said, told Tacopina that Bosch’s testimony would take several more hours and might spill over to the next day. “Well, I guess we have all of October, and by then Mr. Bosch will be in jail,” Tacopina replied, referring to the fact that Bosch and his now-defunct clinic are being investigated by Florida state authorities and federal law-enforcement officials from the Southern District of Florida.
“If he is, he is not going alone,” Ayala fired back, implying that if Bosch goes to prison, he is taking Rodriguez with him.
Tacopina, a former hockey player who holds the Skidmore College record for most penalty minutes in a season, then made a derogatory statement about Ayala and “his lying wife,” Susy Ribero-Ayala, another attorney representing Bosch, angering Julio Ayala. Tacopina then “bull-rushed” Ayala, who went toe-to-toe with Tacopina, in the words of one source.
Ayala, a former high school football player, stood his ground, but other attorneys restrained Tacopina before any punches were thrown. Eventually, the two men calmed down, and the hearing resumed after the break.
Tacopina reportedly offered an apology the following day, which Ayala accepted, and both declined to comment on the situation.