Bobby Valentine drew the ire of Yankees management Wednesday after the former Mets manager said in a radio interview that the Yankees were not involved in post 9/11 events after the terrorist attacks 12 years ago. Valentine later backed off his remarks with an apology of sorts.
"Let it be said that during the time from 9/11 to 9/21, the Yankees were [not around]," Valentine told WFAN's Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts. "You couldn't find a Yankee on the streets of New York City. You couldn't find a Yankee down at Ground Zero, talking to the guys who were working 24/7."
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Valentine, now the athletic director at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., helped as Shea Stadium was used as a staging area for supplies and was a significant presence on behalf of the Mets after the attacks.
"Many of [the Yankees] didn't live here, and so it wasn't their fault," he also said in the interview. "And many of them did not partake in all that, so there was some of that jealousy going around the Mets. Like, 'Why are we so tired? Why are we wasted? Why have we been to the funerals and the firehouses, and the Yankees are getting all the credit for bringing baseball back?' And I said 'This isn't about credit, guys. This is about doing the right thing.' "
Yankees president Randy Levine expressed anger, saying, "This is not the day to point fingers at anybody. This is a day to reflect. Moreover, since he only thinks about himself, he must have forgotten when the Yankees visited Ground Zero, St. Vincent's Hospital, the Armory, the Javits Center, where rescue crews were working."
General manager Brian Cashman added, "I don't agree with [Valentine's remarks] because I know I personally was involved with our team and we did everything we felt we could be doing."
Numerous reports from 2001 detailed the Yankees' participation in meetings with city workers and victim's families.
Levine added, "It's very sad that Bobby Valentine would pick this day. This is a day for reflection and prayer. The Yankees have always remembered the heroes of 9/11 and continue to do so. What Bobby Valentine should understand is that nobody wants to hear about his opinion as to who does what better. He should be silent and remember."
Informed of the Yankees' response, Valentine emailed the following: "Sorry. I must have missed that. If it was between the 11th and the 20th [of September] it was my mistake. I might have missed it. I will follow Randy's lead and be silent."
With Erik Boland