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White Sox ‘understand the seriousness’ of Tony La Russa’s DUI charge

The Chicago White Sox are navigating a firestorm in the wake of the bombshell news that Tony La Russa was charged with DUI the day before the team officially announced his hiring.

Amid a subsequent round of backlash over La Russa following how the organization was widely criticized for the curious decision to hire a 76-year-old who last managed an MLB team in 2011, the White Sox are presently preaching patience.

“As Tony La Russa’s attorney said in his statement, Tony deserves all the assumptions and protections granted to everyone in a court of law, especially while this is a pending matter,” the team said Thursday in a statement, per ESPN. “Once his case reaches resolution in the courts, we will have more to say. The White Sox understand the seriousness of these charges.”

The latest DUI charge, which occurred February in Arizona, is La Russa’s second run-in with the law over an alleged act of drunken driving. The first one occurring during spring training in 2007 when he was manager of St. Louis Cardinals. La Russa pleaded to misdemeanor DUI in that case.

La Russa, then employed by the Los Angeles Angels, was not charged in the February incident until last month. The arrest affidavit indicates La Russa registered a blood alcohol level of 0.90, above the legal limit of 0.80, after blowing out a tire.

Additional damning details have emerged in recent days, including how the Hall of Famer played the “Do You Know Who I Am?” card.

When reached by phone Monday, La Russa — who has yet to speak publicly about the DUI charge — said “I have nothing to say” before hanging up on the call.

Things certainly could not have gotten off to a more disastrous start for La Russa in Chicago. After his hiring proved to be such a controversial and potentially polarizing decision, La Russa and the ChiSox somehow find themselves in an even more precarious position.

Perhaps making matters worse, the White Sox have said the team was aware of the charges before moving ahead with the La Russa hire.