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Randolph backs off racial comments, criticism of cable network

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The New York Mets, having recently worked their way out of one self-created distraction, now have another.

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mlb_g_randolph_200.jpgAl Bello/Getty Images

Manager Willie Randolph is under fire in New York as his Mets struggle to stay above .500.

Manager Willie Randolph on Tuesday backed away from comments he made in a Monday column in The Bergen (N.J.) Record in which he questioned whether race has played a role in media coverage of him. He also, in the column, was critical of the way he has been portrayed during broadcasts on the Mets' cable television network.

The Mets, who came into the season with high expectations and hopes of erasing the sting of last fall's epic collapse, have come under fire for their uneven play this season.

Randolph, the first black major league manager in New York, wondered aloud in the column whether race had anything to do with his being held to a different standard.

"Is it racial?" Randolph asked in the column, written by The Record's Ian O'Connor.

"Huh? It smells a little bit."

"I don't know how to put my finger on it, but I think there's something there," Randolph said in the column. He cited the example of former New York Jets coach Herman Edwards as a coach who was initially successful, but did not last long when the Jets started losing. He also noted the treatment of former New York Knicks coach and GM Isiah Thomas, saying "Isiah didn't do a great job, but they beat up Isiah pretty good. ... There's something weird about it."

On Tuesday, Randolph attempted to clarify those remarks.

"It's been a lot of negative stuff going on around here and I've been feeling some of that and I was just expressing how I felt at the time, but it wasn't anything to do with race," he told reporters. "I wasn't trying to bring race into it. I probably should have thought more about what I was going to say."

"I don't think it's about race," he added. "It's about winning ballgames and getting back to the way we are capable of playing."

Randolph also said any discussions of race or dissension in the Mets locker room would disappear if the team started winning consistently. Late last week, after a demoralizing 1-0 home loss to the last-place Washington Nationals, closer Billy Wagner pointedly questioned why some members of the team were not around to answer to reporters after the game.

A lengthy closed-door team meeting followed the next day. But then the Mets won a pair from the New York Yankees in interleague play, pushing questions about team unity to the back burner.

In his comments to the Record, Randolph also questioned the way SportsNet New York covers him during games, suggesting that shots of him in the dugout reinforce an inaccurate perception that he lacks competitive fire during games.

"They're the artists, I'm the canvas. They paint the picture the way they want to," he said of the coverage.

Randolph explained that SNY's cameras focus in on him when things go wrong for the Mets -- and that those moments are the wrong time to show anger.

On Tuesday, Randolph backed off that criticism, too.

"I'm not necessarily upset with anyone," Randolph said. "There is so much perception out there about me and sometimes when you hear it or see, you shake your head a little bit because that's kind of not like me."

During SNY's coverage of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves, the network's on-air personalities responded to Randolph's criticism.

"Why is Willie wasting any time watching us, for one, and two, I just think it's wrong," said Ron Darling. "I think his comments are wrong.

"I think some of the best things we do are watching not only Willie, but also his staff, go about their business educating these young men on how to play the game."

Fellow SNY analyst Keith Hernandez said he was surprised by the comments.

"In my 17 years of major league baseball and 10-plus years of being up here in the booth, I've just never heard of a manager make those kinds of comments before, and I'm really quite surprised that Willie made those comments," he said.

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Oh yeah. That's the reason. Not because your $140M roster is losing as often as they win.

And the Jets let Herm go because of his skin color. Right. Not because of losing, not because of his consorting with another team while he was still coaching & under contract here, but because he was a non-white coach who was losing and consorting with another team.

Same with Isiah. You'd be hard-pressed to find a GM/coach who did decidedly worse than Thomas. Nevermind that they fired their much-sought-after white coach after just 1 season.

They fired Bobby Valentine who, just 2 years earlier, had the Mets in the World Series for the first time in a decade & a half. And the media gave it to him plenty before the Mets sent him packing. Maybe they are racist against white people also.

If you suck, you will be criticized. Get criticized for sucking for long enough, and you'll be working someplace else. Doesn't matter if you're white or black or anything in between or skinless like Purdue chicken parts.

What an a**hole. There is actual racism in this country and all over the world, and this piece of trash millionaire wants to deflect his own incompetence? The NY media lapped him up as a player who's spent his whole career as a much-loved NY baseball player/coach.

F'ing dickhead.

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