ATLANTA (AP) -New York Mets manager Willie Randolph issued an apology Wednesday to team ownership, the club's TV network and his players ``for the unnecessary distraction'' he created by suggesting he was portrayed in a different manner than white managers.
Randolph, the Mets' first black manager, created a stir with comments he made that appeared Monday in The Record of Hackensack, N.J.
Randolph brought up race when he questioned the way he has been presented by SNY, the team's TV network.
``Is it racial?'' Randolph was quoted in the story. ``Huh? It smells a little bit. ... I don't know how to put my finger on it, but I think there's something there.''
Before the Mets played the Braves on Wednesday, Randolph began by saying, ``I just wrote down some notes I want to share with you guys.''
``First of all, I want to apologize to the Mets ownership, SNY and my team for the unnecessary distraction that I created, that I caused the last couple days,'' he said. ``I shouldn't have said what I said. It was a mistake. As simple as that. It was a mistake.
``And there is no excuse for that. No excuses. I own up to it. The fact of life is that we haven't been playing very well as a team. We've been very inconsistent. We've talked about that before. When it happens, you're going to get criticized for that. I understand that.''
Randolph said he wasn't asked by Mets management to issue the apology.
``It's been a tough couple months for my team, for myself,'' he said. ``I understand that goes along with that. I've known that for a long time.''
Pressure on Randolph, which began with a late-season collapse to miss the playoffs last year, has increased. The Mets (22-21) entered Wednesday night's game only one game over .500 with losses in four of their last six games.
``I take full responsibility for what I said out of frustration and hope that we can put a close to this matter and focus on winning a lot of baseball games,'' he said. ``That's what we're here to do, win a championship.''
When asked if his opinion of the way he has been portrayed by SNY has changed, Randolph said ``Yes. Yes. Again, those guys have a job to do. They get paid a lot of money to do their job. What I feel about that is really not important. At the time I voiced that opinion, again, that was out of frustration.
``What I said was what it felt like to me. I feel bad about how this has come about.''

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