According to a report from the Seattle Times, Mariners president Kevin Mather, former president Chuck Armstrong, and former executive vice president Bob Aylward all were accused of inappropriate workplace behavior during the 2009-10 season. The women who accused the three executives all left their jobs, and the complaints were quietly settled. Meanwhile, Aylward and Mather received promotions, and Armstrong stayed on as president until he retired in 2014.
Mather was accused by a former executive assistant of “repeatedly rubbing her back,” making lewd comments, and cracking inappropriate jokes. She says she tried to avoid Mather in the office because he made her feel uncomfortable. Aylward’s behavior was also flagged by his former executive assistant, who says she was once called over to help Aylward with a frozen computer. Aylward apparently had porn playing, and as the assistant tried to fix the problem, “pop-up porn images filled his screen.” The two women left their jobs shortly after making the complaints.
A few months later, Armstrong was accused by a former suites manager at the Mariners stadium of pressuring him into kissing her after delivering a bottle of wine to his suite. She says she felt “pressured to reciprocate” because Armstrong was one of the most powerful people on the team. A factor that compounded the problem was that some of the accused execs were in charge of HR.
Mather had been overseeing the team’s human-resources department before the complaints. That responsibility later was moved to Armstrong’s purview and remained there until his retirement despite the subsequent complaint involving him.
Additionally, the Times reported on the shooting and sharing of a video called “9-29-15 Blondes” that shows two female fans in revealing clothing chatting in the stands. The high-powered zoom apparently showed one of the fans lift her dress and expose herself, in addition to zooming in on her bare butt as she walked up the stadium stairs. The file was shared in a DropBox folder and deleted once the Times asked about it. One team lawyer said the footage was compiled for “security reasons,” but another said the footage shouldn’t have been compiled. (Deadspin has published similar footage in the past.)
Neither Armstrong nor Aylward commented on the allegations, though Mather released a short statement admitting that the team’s culture could “do better.”
I am committed to ensuring that every Mariners employee feels comfortable and respected, and can contribute to our success both on the field and in the community. Can we do better? Of course.
The Mariners acknowledged reaching financial settlements with former employees, though they declined to specify whether the accused paid up or the team covered the bill.