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Newsday reporter threatened and ordered out of the locker room following Mets loss in Chicago

June 23, 2019

A New York Mets beat reporter was physically threatened by one of the team’s pitchers and ordered out of the briefing room by the team’s manager following a loss to the Chicago Cubs on June 23, 2019.

Newsday reporter Tim Healey was in the locker room in Chicago’s Wrigley Field for the after-game press conference alongside other journalists covering the game. Healey told Newsday that when Manager Mickey Callaway came out of his office, “I thought he was leaving for the day, so I said, ‘See you tomorrow, Mickey.’” Callaway reportedly responded, “Don’t be a smart-ass.”

The New York Daily News reported that Callaway called Healey a “motherfucker” under his breath before walking into another room. When Callaway returned after a few minutes, he continued to confront the reporter about the comment, which Healey assured him wasn’t made maliciously.

“Shut the fuck up, get out of my face. Get out of here,” Callaway said in response, according to The Daily News. Callaway then told a team public relations official, “Get this motherfucker out of here, he’ll be here tomorrow.”

Newsday reported that this exchange caught the attention of pitcher Jason Vargas. When Healey noticed that Vargas had been staring at him, he asked if everything was OK or if there was something he wanted to say. In response, Vargas threatened him.

“He said, ‘I’ll knock you out right here’ and then took a couple of steps toward me,” Healey told Newsday. “Some people said charged—charged is super-strong.”

Mets media relations manager and several teammates got between Healey and Vargas and ensured that the pitcher remained at a distance. No punches were thrown, and Healey said at that moment he removed himself from the locker room.

In a statement released that evening, the Mets wrote that they “sincerely regret the incident that took place with one of our beat writers following today’s game in the clubhouse. We do not condone this type of behavior from any employee. The organization has reached out and apologized to this reporter and will have further discussions internally with all involved parties.”

Deadspin reported that Callaway and Vargas were each fined $10,000 and had to give statements addressing the incident. In one of his statements, Callaway said that he had spoken privately with Healey and apologized.

— The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected]

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