Red Sox owner John Henry confirmed that the team held a meeting in New York in late July, but says no players "took the position that manager Bobby Valentine should be or needed to be replaced" and, indeed, took responsibility themselves for the club's poor season.
"What co-owner Tom Werner, president Larry Lucchino and I heard in the player meeting was one overriding sentiment. Players felt responsible for the record," Henry wrote in an e-mail sent to media members. "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 said he "asked for" the meeting, which contradicts the Yahoo! Sports report that the players requested, via text, to meet with ownership. He added he requested a similar meeting in the championship season of 2004 and "it closely resembled last month's meeting . . . focusing on what do we need to do to turn things around."
Meetings between ownership and players have been common since the HenryWernerLucchino group took control of the Red Sox in 2002.
"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," wrote Henry. "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?"
This is the first meeting, however, that was leaked to the media. which disappointed Henry:
"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."
He concluded with a direct message to the fans:
"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."