OAKLAND — The A’s have suspended their strength and conditioning coach pending an investigation that he secretly installed a camera in The Coliseum weight room to film players working out, a team spokesperson confirmed Friday.
The A’s hired an independent law firm to investigate, and the team has been given those findings and will decide how to proceed next. A’s players will be briefed by the firm Monday.
Mike Henriques, who has served as the team’s strength and conditioning coach since 2011, left the A’s while the team was in Texas during its most recent road trip and returned to the Bay Area because of the matter.
He couldn’t be reached for comment Friday, but according to a Yahoo report that broke the news Friday afternoon, Henriques admitted to installing the camera in order to observe players working out and rehabilitating injuries while the team traveled. The A’s have many players on the disabled list who stay back and rehab at The Coliseum while the team is away.
“This was the misguided action of one employee,” Billy Beane, the A’s executive vice president of baseball operations, was quoted by Yahoo. “We hired an independent investigator. While the employee’s intentions were good, his judgment was very poor.”
Catherine Aker, the A’s director of corporate communication, would not comment on whether Henriques would remain employed by the A’s, saying she couldn’t offer much information because it was a personnel issue. But she confirmed that Henriques is not currently serving as the team’s strength and conditioning coach. That job is being filled by Josh Cuffe, who usually is based in Arizona as the A’s minor league strength and conditioning coordinator.
“We immediately hired an outside law firm to investigate,” Aker said. “They’ve provided the findings to us.”
According to the Yahoo report, Henriques set up the camera July 24 — the day the A’s left on their most recent trip. A player discovered the camera the next day and told reliever Sean Doolittle, Oakland’s representative to the players’ union. Such filming is not allowed by Major League Baseball or the union.
The A’s have been working in conjunction with MLB and the union during the investigation.
Doolittle, who is currently on the DL and was among those working out at The Coliseum on the day the camera was discovered, said he couldn’t comment on specifics and that he didn’t even have all the information and facts from the investigation yet.
“It was shocking and surprising to say the least,” Doolittle said. “I think we feel like our clubhouse and weight room and batting cage and everything, it’s a very sacred place. This is kind of our sanctuary, and when something like that happens, it definitely raises some eyebrows. We were shocked, but rather than us try to put the pieces together and point fingers, we went to the union and said, ‘What do we do?’ They teamed up with our front office and MLB and got the investigation going.”
Henriques was originally hired as the A’s minor league strength and conditioning coordinator in November 2010, then was named Oakland’s interim strength and conditioning coach in May 2011 and promoted to the full-time post in October of that year. He previously spent five seasons working in a similar capacity for the San Diego Padres and also spent time with the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers before that.