Former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine used the occasion of the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to take an ill-timed, self-aggrandizing jab at the Yankees.
“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, via CBS New York. “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.”
Amid the deluge of criticism that followed Valentine's comments, New York Yankees president Randy Levine cited some of the team's activities in the wake of the attack on the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan.
"Bobby Valentine should know better than to be pointing fingers on a day like today," Levine told ESPN New York. "Today is a day of reflection and prayer. The Yankees, as has been well documented, visited Ground Zero, the Armory, the Javits Center, St. Vincent's Hospital and many other places during that time. We continue to honor the 9/11 victims and responders."
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A seemingly chastened Valentine responded to Levine's statement in an email to Newsday later on Wednesday.
"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," Valentine told Newsday. "I will follow Randy's lead and be silent."
Not actually following Randy's lead or following through on his own statement, Valentine then stood by his remarks on Thursday during an appearance Erik Kuselias's radio show on the NBC Radio Network.
"I don't know if I was trying to take credit for the team," Valentine began when asked by Kuselias to respond to Levine. "I was trying to make a fact that 12 years of hearing what was done and to hear it reported incorrectly, I just thought I'd state for the record for that week there weren't any Yankees out there. And if there were Mr. Levine can just come up with a photograph of somebody at a firehouse or a funeral or at someone's house. All I remember is people asking for the Yankees and me making excuses for them not being there."
LISTEN: Bobby Valentine Responds To Randy Levine