Mets GM Says Jeff Wilpon Suggested Team Walk Off Field Before Marlins Game

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 27, 2020

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred answers questions at a press conference during MLB baseball owners meetings, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

With questions about which Major League Baseball teams will play Thursday and which ones will not in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred seemed to advocate for the New York Mets to take the field at 7:10 p.m. ET and then walk off before coming back out and actually playing at 8:10 p.m. ET.

Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen can be seen talking about it on a video circulating on social media.

Van Wagenen notably said of Manfred: "At the leadership level, he doesn't get it. He just doesn't get it."

ESPN's Jeff Passan shared a transcript of the video:

However, the second-year GM issued a statement in which he said it was Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon's idea to walk off the field and not Manfred's:

Manfred also released a statement:

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"Over the past two days, players on a number of clubs have decided not to play games. I have said both publicly and privately that I respect those decisions and support the need to address social injustice. I have not attempted to 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." 

Both Fred and Jeff Wilpon issued statements on the matter, apologizing for the misunderstanding:

The comments about Manfred's leadership are notable, especially from a general manager of one of MLB's more high-profile franchises. Manfred was under the spotlight leading up to this shortened season as the league and players continued to offer counterproposals while they negotiated on how many games they would play, whether salaries would be prorated and more.

The commissioner notably said he wasn't confident there was going to be a season in June.

He also drew criticism when he called the World Series trophy a "piece of metal."

It is clear from this latest video that Van Wagenen doesn't think now is the time for gestures like the one Manfred reportedly suggested. Multiple games were postponed Wednesday night, with other players across the league sitting out in protest of the police shooting of Blake.

The decisions from various players came after the Milwaukee Bucks elected not to play their NBA playoff game against the Orlando Magic. The NBA then postponed all three postseason games scheduled for Wednesday as well as the three on Thursday.

Mets first baseman Dominic Smith issued a powerful and emotional statement in a press conference on Wednesday, explaining "the most difficult part is to see people still don't care. ... Being a Black man in America, it's not easy."

New York is scheduled to face the Miami Marlins on Thursday.