A video of Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen that leaked Thursday appeared to show him criticizing commissioner Rob Manfred for suggesting that the Mets and Marlins agree to delay the start of their game rather than boycott it to raise awareness for racial discrimination in the U.S.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan tweeted the video with a transcript of the conversation between Van Wagenen and an unidentified speaker out of view of the camera.
Van Wagenen: “Baseball’s trying to come up with a solution to say, you know what would be super powerful – three of us here, can’t leave this room – you know what would be really great: If you just have ’em all take the field, then they leave the field and then they come back and play at 8:10. And I was like, ‘What?’”
Unidentified speaker: “Who said that?”
Van Wagenen: “Rob. And with Jeff, scheduling’s gonna be a nightmare, and there’s so much at stake. And I said, ‘Jeff, that’s not happening.’”
Unidentified speaker: “They’re not dealing with reality.”
Van Wagenen: “They’re not playing. But that’s Rob’s instinct. And Rob – exactly what you and I were talking about – at the leadership level he doesn’t get it. He just doesn’t get it. Anyway, we’re waiting – Jeff wants to hear, as soon as we hear from the Marlins, whatever we do need to coordinate with the Marlins. So as soon as Conforto hears from Rojas – Miguel Rojas – let me know because Jeff is standing by for that call.”
The Marlins and Mets took the field for their scheduled start time of 7:10 p.m. and proceeded to hold 42 seconds of silence – in honor of Jackie Robinson Day, which is set for Friday – before leaving a Black Lives Matter T-shirt at home plate and walking off the field.
Following the demonstration, Van Wagenen released a statement.
"Jeff Wilpon called Commissioner Manfred this afternoon to notify him that our players voted not to play," Van Wagenen wrote. "They discussed the challenges of rescheduling the game. Jeff proposed an idea of playing the game an hour later. I misunderstood that this was the Commissioner's idea. In actuality, this was Jeff's suggestion. The players had already made their decision so I felt the suggestion was not helpful. My frustration with the Commissioner was wrong and unfounded. I apologize to the Commissioner for my disrespectful comments and poor judgement in inaccurately describing the contents of his private conversation with Jeff Wilpon."
Six other games across MLB were postponed Thursday as teams around the league released statements calling for change as a result of the string of police-involved shootings of Black Americans – most recently that of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.