Sports

John Henry: Players didn’t seek to oust Valentine

02-25-12: Fort Myers, FL: The Red Sox and the Lee County people had a dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting ceremony outside the new park then had another photo opportunity inside of JetBlue Park in which some Red Sox players participated. Two of the Red Sox owners, Tom Werner and John Henry are pictured as they talk while looking over the practice fields from an office balcony before they did their annual press availability. The Boston Red Sox are conducting Spring Training workouts at the team's new 106 acre Spring Training and Player Development Complex known as "JetBlue Park at Fenway South". (Globe Staff Photo/Jim Davis) section:sports topic:spring training
Red Sox owner John Henry issued a statement about Tuesday’s story on Yahoo! about players airing gripes about manager Bobby Valentine.Credit: The Boston Globe

Red Sox owner John Henry said Wednesday that players did not seek to oust manager Bobby Valentine during a meeting with him, team chairman Tom Werner, and CEO Larry Lucchino in a meeting in New York late last month were incorrect.

Henry also reiterated his support for Valentine as he responded to rumors of mutiny in his clubhouse that first emerged in a Yahoo Sports story a day earlier.

“No one in that meeting at any time took the position that Bobby should be or needed to be replaced,” Henry said in a statement.

Advertisement—Continue Reading Below

The Yahoo! Sports story set off a firestorm around the Red Sox on Tuesday, with general manager Ben Cherington first confirming the meeting but declining to discuss specifics of what went on.

Second baseman Dustin Pedroia, after the Red Sox lost in Baltimore Tuesday night to sink to 57-60, said players accept responsibility for the team’s dismal season.

“I don’t think Bobby should be fired,” he said. Listen, we haven’t played well. That’s the bottom line. I’m not going to blame anything on Bobby. I don’t think anybody else is. It’s on the players.”

Henry, who expressed disappointment that word of ownership’s meeting with players became public, said the purpose of the meeting was to exchange ideas about how the team can turn around its performance.

“What Tom, Larry and I heard in the player meeting was one overriding sentiment. Players felt responsible for the record,” Henry said. “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.”

Henry last week gave Valentine his backing and said he would not change managers. Valentine was hired last winter to replace Terry Francona.

On Wednesday, Henry reiterated that support.

“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.”

***

Full text of John Henry’s statement:

“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, Larry 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.”

Share