Originally created 02/21/00

Torre maintains players' union had to defend Rocker



TAMPA, Fla. -- New York Yankees manager Joe Torre, an instrumental part of the players' association when he was younger, said the union had no choice but to assist suspended Atlanta Braves' pitcher John Rocker.

"That's their job, not necessarily defend what he has said, but I still have to believe he has some rights that they have to support for him," Torre said Sunday. "They have to ... they just can't leave him out there by himself."

"It's a very touchy situation obviously because of what he said, who he offended and the whole thing," Torre said. "The scary part is not what he said, it's how he thinks. We've all said some things we're sorry we've said, but go on and on, and then that's where you mind works."

Yankees pitcher David Cone, a current strong union supporter, also defended the players' association.

"The union is trying to do its job," Cone said. "Everybody deserves representation ... everybody deserves to have due process."

Torre and Cone agreed education is the best way to combat the views Rocker expressed in a magazine article.

Rocker was suspended until May 1, fined $20,000 and ordered to undergo sensitivity training by commissioner Bud Selig for offensive comments against minorities, homosexuals and foreigners. The union appealed the decision to arbitrator Shyam Das, who is expected to rule by the end of the month.



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