A video has emerged of New York Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen appearing to speak candidly about the leadership of MLB commissioner Rob Manfred as several teams refuse to play games in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake.
The video, apparently captured on a live stream of a Mets pregame press conference that was never turned off, was posted through Twitter on Thursday afternoon. It shows a 59-second portion of a conversation between Van Wagenen and two unidentified people, none of whom appear to know their words are being streamed.
In the video, Van Wagenen appears to recount discussions involving Manfred and Mets COO Jeff Wilpon on how to appease protesting players, then criticize the commissioner’s leadership amid the situation. He seems to be relaying and shooting down a plan in which the players would leave the field in protest, then return to play the game an hour later.
Van Wagenen later says he’s waiting for word from the Miami Marlins, the Mets’ scheduled opponent on Thursday, on the players’ decision about protesting, with Mets outfielder Michael Conforto operating as the Mets’ representative.
Van Wagenen: “Baseball’s trying to come up with a solution, say ‘No, you know what would be super powerful?’ Three of us here, can’t leave this room. They’re saying ‘You know what would be really great? If you just have them all take the field, then they leave the field, and then they come back and play at 8:10.’ And I was like, ‘What?’”
Van Wagenen: “Rob. Jeff, “Scheduling’s going to be a nightmare, there’s so much at stake.” I said “Jeff, that’s not happening. These guys are not playing.”
Van Wagenen: “They’re not playing. But that’s Rob’s instinct and Rob, exactly what you and are talking, at leadership level, he doesn’t get it. He just doesn’t get it.
“We’re waiting. Jeff wants to hear as soon as we hear from the Marlins. Whatever we do, we need to coordinate with the Marlins. So soon as Conforto hears from Rojas. Right, Miguel Rojas? Let me know, because Jeff’s standing by for that call.”
In another video posted on Twitter that appears to show the remainder of the conversation, a member of Van Wagenen’s circle says Wilpon is indeed interfacing with the commissioner. Van Wagenen also discusses the politics at play between Manfred, Wilpon and himself:
“Jeff wants to support the players first and foremost … but he has to be the messenger for Rob, to at least throw that to us, and I told Jeff ‘That’s not happening. These guys aren’t playing.’ I just stopped there. I wasn’t even going to take that to Mike.”
Van Wagenen has been the Mets’ GM since 2018. Before that, he worked as a player agent for mega-agency CAA Sports, representing some players he would later oversee with the Mets.
MLB released a statement on Wednesday saying it supports the decisions by players on several teams to not play in games that day. The league has not yet responded to Yahoo Sports’ request for comment.
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