John Henry: No Players Proposed Bobby Valentine’s Firing
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BOSTON (CBS) — In the wake of Tuesday’s explosive report that as many as 17 players attended a meeting in late July in which several Red Sox players met with ownership and management with the message that they no longer want to play for manager Bobby Valentine, team owner John Henry has issued a response.
Henry said that a meeting did take place, but that it was similar to many meetings the team has had over the past decade. Henry also said that no player spoke out to say that Valentine should be fired.
“[The players] openly spoke about what could improve in addition to their play. They made substantive points. We addressed those points,” Henry said in an email to the team’s beat reporters. “No one in that meeting at any time took the position that Bobby should be or needed to be replaced.”
A report from Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan said that “[Adrian] Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia were among the most vocal in the meeting, in which some players stated flatly they no longer wanted to play for Valentine.” Passan cited several unnamed sources in the report, something Henry would seem to classify as a breach of trust in such meetings.
“For more than a decade we have had a code among players, staff and ownership that our meetings are private and do not leave the room,” Henry said in the email. “There is one reason for that. It enables all of us to openly discuss important issues. For more than a decade not one person in any of those meetings has gone to the media with private information.”
Henry called the reports of potential clubhouse mutiny “sensationalized” and stressed that the team — from top to bottom — is a cohesive unit.
“Ownership, players and all staff, especially Bobby Valentine, are determined to turn around what has thus far been an unacceptable, failed season,” Henry said. “We are all on the same page in that regard and will not waver.”
The full text of Henry’s email is below:
“First of all for more than a decade we have had a code among players, staff and ownership that our meetings are private and do not leave the room. There is one reason for that. It enables all of us to openly discuss important issues. For more than a decade not one person in any of those meetings has gone to the media with private information. Over the decade we have made great strides as a result of these meetings in a number of ways including improvement in training facilities, protocols, safety, resources, travel issues, clubhouse issues and trust within a cooperative framework. But more than anything else these meetings have been about the same thing the meeting in New York was about — what it takes to win — what can we all do to improve our ability to win?
“About this time eight years ago we had one such meeting. It closely resembled the meeting in New York. Both were meetings I asked for. And both quickly went to the point — what do we need to do to turn things around? We held three meetings in New York — separating groups so as to have frank discussions about what was wrong.
“What Tom [Werner], Larry [Lucchino] and I heard in the player meeting was one overriding sentiment. Players felt responsible for the record. They weren’t blaming injuries or anyone but themselves. At the same time they openly spoke about what could improve in addition to their play. They made substantive points. We addressed those points. No one in that meeting at any time took the position that Bobby should be or needed to be replaced.
“I understand that when the team isn’t playing up to our standards that issues are going to be sensationalized. But what is important for Red Sox fans to know is that ownership, players and all staff especially Bobby Valentine are determined to turn around what has thus far been an unacceptable, failed season. We are all on the same page in that regard and will not waver.”