May 27, 2021

MLB (Manfred) Does The Absolute Bare Minimum Re Callaway Harassment Investigation

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred this week announced, after an investigation that was announced more than three months ago (it may or may not have been a three-month investigation), that Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway was placed on the Ineligible List until at least the end of the 2022 season. Shortly thereafter, the Angels fired Callaway.

News of Callaway's rampant and aggressive sexual harassment of numerous women (both journalists and team employees) was first reported by Katie Strang and Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic on February 1, 2021.

Callaway's behaviour, which included badgering various women to spend time with him, sending  them numerous shirtless and nude photographs of himself, repeatedly texting and requesting nude pictures in return, thrusting his crotch in one reporter's face during an interview, and telling a female reporter that if she got drunk with him, he'd give her inside information on his team, was described by more than one person as "the worst-kept secret in sports". Callaway's offensive acts were so well-known that he was known in the Mets organization as "Dick Pic Mick". In Cleveland, some team employees referred to being harassed by Callaway as getting "the Mickey treatment".

The Athletic's coverage:

February 1, 2021: Five women accuse Mickey Callaway of lewd behavior: 'He was completely unrelenting'

February 17, 2021: 'This is a pattern': Three women told Mets about sexual harassment in 2018

March 2, 2021: 'Worst-kept secret': What the Indians, MLB really knew about Mickey Callaway's behavior

March 10, 2021: Owner Paul Dolan promises improved Indians culture after Mickey Callaway reports

March 29, 2021: Mets owner Steve Cohen hires law firm to review 'workplace culture'

April 16, 2021: 'I've barely hit on you': Inside a Mets culture rotten beyond Mickey Callaway and Jared Porter

Manfred's statement mentioned that the teams who employed Callaway "each fully cooperated with DOI [MLB's Department of Investigations], including providing emails and assisting with identifying key witnesses".

Manfred avoided saying anything about Callaway's years-long harassment while employed by three teams as being "the worst-kept secret in sports". He also said nothing about a possible forthcoming report and he did not mentioned any discipline of anyone else.

Manfred said absolutely nothing about any other baseball people (identified by name in reports by The Athletic), who were all well aware of Callaway's harassment and did nothing (except, when possible, protect him from any possible consequences).

Some of those people are: Aubrey Wechsler (Mets Director of Employee Engagement), Holly Lindvall (Mets ‎Senior Vice President, Human Resources & Diversity), Sandy Alderson (Mets General Manager), David Newman (Mets Executive Vice President and General Counsel), Fred Wilpon and Jeff Wilpon (former Mets owners), Chris Antonetti (Cleveland President of Baseball Operations), Mike Chernoff (Cleveland General Manager), Terry Francona (Cleveland Manager), Joe Znidarsic (Cleveland Vice President & General Counsel), various other officials in Cleveland's legal, human resources, and baseball operations departments, and more than a dozen current and former Cleveland and Mets employees.

Antonetti blatantly lied when first questioned about Callaway, claiming he had never heard any complaints about Callaway in the five years Callaway was with Cleveland. In truth, Antonetti and others tried to manage and cover up the damage after a man complained to the organization that Callaway had sent "unsolicited pornographic material" to his wife. Now, Antonetti says: "We could have done more."

In light of Manfred's epic (and, no doubt, deliberate) swing-and-miss, his statement that "harassment has no place within Major League Baseball" and that he is "committed to providing an appropriate work environment" for everyone is nothing but a sad, cruel joke. The only thing Manfred provided was, in Craig Calcaterra's words, "Mickey Callaway's head, temporarily, on a plate. And nothing else."

Callaway issued a statement, which regurgitated the boilerplate bullshit about how he's sorry if anything he did "made [those women] feel uncomfortable" because that was certainly not his intention. Besides, he "didn't understand that [his] interactions might" be offensive or in violation of MLB policies. And until he can apply for reinstatement, he plans to "work on [his] shortcomings".

* * *

On April 30, MLB placed Roberto Alomar, who had been working as a consultant, on the ineligible list after an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against him. The Toronto Blue Jays, who had retired his number, also severed ties with Alomar. The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum banned Alomar from future events and said it would no longer be associated with Alomar or his foundation.

On May 8, Brittany Ghiroli reported that Nationals broadcaster F.P. Santangelo has been accused of sexual misconduct (my emphasis):

The 31-year-old woman who made the allegation, speaking to The Athletic on the condition of anonymity, said Santangelo made an unwanted advance several years ago, ignored her when she repeatedly told him to stop, and sexually assaulted her. She detailed her experience to The Athletic after submitting an anonymous Instagram post that caught the attention of the team and the network. . . .

The woman who detailed her experience with Santangelo is not an employee of MASN, the Orioles or the Nationals. She told The Athletic she thought about emailing MASN after it happened but did not want to have to re-live the experience and was worried her claim would not be taken seriously. She has no desire to issue a formal complaint and is not seeking any compensation. 

"If I never saw him again, I'd be perfectly happy," said the woman, who also alleges that Santangelo sent her angry text messages and blocked her on social media after their one and only in-person interaction. "But he's well known and it is bothersome to see someone in his private life not be respectful of people. I don't have any motives behind this other than I wanted to avoid this happening to other women."

Repeat after me: "Harassment has no place within Major League Baseball."

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