FLUSHING, Queens — The New York Mets and Miami Marlins appear to have chosen to not play Thursday night’s scheduled game, joining teams in the NBA, the NHL and at least two other Major League Baseball teams in sitting out to protest racial injustice.
Neither team has released a statement.
The Mets initially took the field Thursday. Both the Mets and Marlins stepped out of the dugouts, stood without their caps for a moment of silence lasting 42 seconds in apparent tribute to baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson, before leaving the field, with only a Black Lives Matter t-shirt left at home plate.
On Thursday, video leaked on Twitter showing New York Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen criticizing MLB’s handling of the response to player protests.
The video, leaked by a Twitter user, shows Van Wagenen discussing the Mets players potentially protesting Thursday night’s game between the Mets and Miami Marlins. The video shows Van Wagenen saying MLB wanted the Mets to take the field for Thursday’s game, then leave it and return an hour later.
Here’s video of Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen discussing a plan in which he says MLB wanted the Mets to take the field, leave it and return an hour later. Van Wagenen is critical of the idea and commissioner Rob Manfred, saying: “He just doesn’t get it.” (Video via @NickCocco18) pic.twitter.com/46Z9neVkJt— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 27, 2020
Van Wagenen says that “Rob,” presumably MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred “doesn’t get it.”
“[MLB’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 leve the field and then they come back and play at like 8:10. And I was like, ‘What?’,” Van Wagenen goes on to say.
Van Wagenen goes on to say that the Mets are “not playing” Thursday night.
Van Wagenen released a statement following the leak of the video saying that he wrongly attributed the idea to Manfred, when it was in fact Wilpon’s idea.
“Jeff Wilpon called Commissioner Manfred this afternoon to notify him that our players voted not to play,” he said. “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.”
Manfred himself issued a statement about an hour after the Mets and Marlins walked off the field.
“Over the past two days, players on a number of Clubs have decided not to play games,” Manfred said in a statement. “I have said both publicly and privately that I respect those decisions and support the need to address social injustice. I have not attempted in any way to prevent players from expressing themselves by not playing, nor have I suggested any alternative form of protest to any Club personnel or any player. Any suggestion to the contrary is wrong.”
The Milwaukee Bucks began the boycotts by not coming out for Game 5 of their NBA Playoff series with the Orlando Magic. Milwaukee is 40 miles from Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Jacob Blake was shot seven times by police.
Other NBA teams quickly followed suit and the NBA announced it was postponing all of Wednesday’s scheduled games.
The protests spread to MLB when the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds announced they would not play their scheduled game on Wednesday night and two other games were also postponed.
Locally, the New York Jets called off practice on Thursday in protest. The New York Islanders, along with the other remaining NHL teams, are considering boycotting games Thursday. The New York Liberty of the WNBA boycotted their game Thursday, while the city’s two Major League Soccer teams do not play again until Saturday and have yet to make any decision.
Mets first baseman Dominic Smith knelt in protest during the national anthem Wednesday night and gave an emotional statement in his postgame media availability.