Were A-Rod's supporters hired to protest?

Next up: Did A-Rod pay these people to want autographs? - Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Like, besides his lawyers. The people holding signs and looking super upset for A-Rod. Those people.

It seemed a little weird for Alex Rodriguez, who is nothing if not controversial and embattled, to have a strong showing of support outside of his suspension hearing in New York. There were even signs that said things like, "No justice, no peace", which I'm pretty sure means "Let A-Rod go or we riot." That, or they stumbled upon a small A-Rod rally on their way back from something that actually mattered (government shutdown protest, perhaps?) and didn't have time to make a new sign.

The whole supporters thing is getting a little weirder now, as a couple of New York papers are insinuating (or straight-up saying) that A-Rod or his camp paid for supporters to show up and pretend to be Team A-Rod. From the New York Daily News:

HAA executive director Sergio Rodriguez said the protest was not coordinated or funded by the Yankees star or his legal advisers, but the gathering did not appear to be a spontaneous show of fan support. One protester said on Twitter that he was "getting paid, breakfast and lunch is on the house just to support my favorite player A-Rod hell yeah." The protester, a 20-year-old Brooklyn college student, later told The News that he was not a member of HAA, and that a friend has told him he would receive payment for attending the rally.

Maybe this "college student" was just the Daily News' Bill Madden in a disguise, attempting some vigilante justice to put a stop to the madness that is A-Rod once and for all. Or, maybe A-Rod's camp really did pay for support, much the same way they reportedly paid to acquire and hide documents from Biogenesis in the first place. You know, part of what has A-Rod in trouble with MLB right now as you read this.

There's also Ken Davidoff from the New York Post, though, he's more subtle (and possibly half-kidding) with his approach:

Who besides Alex Rodriguez would draw (or perhaps pay for?) a barricaded crowd of as many as 70 people to holler in support of him outside Major League Baseball's Manhattan headquarters, as he appealed his 211-game suspension for illegal performance-enhancing drug usage and obstruction?

It might seem ridiculous to think that he'd pay people to support him, but it totally makes sense. That doesn't mean he did it, necessarily, it's just absolutely within the realm of plausible events. But really, it's not like he'd be the first person (or the last one) to whip up a public relations scheme like this to make him appear sympathetic.

Let's go back to the signs for a moment, to wrap up this whole "did A-Rod pay people to pretend to like him" thing. There's like, two, maybe three sets of handwriting on all of them, and there are a lot of signs:

So, either a few thoughtful people took it upon themselves to make all these signs for those who might not have brought their own, or A-Rod personally handed them to his "supporters" after his camp wrote them up, only after they promised not to tell. Obviously, these are the only two options on the table.

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