Rob Manfred finally finished reading The Athletic’s report from February about Mickey Callaway’s sexual harassment. Or perhaps he clicked on the tube this week and caught Andrea Kremer’s HBO Real Sports piece on the sex harrassment women in sports media regularly receive that was partly based on The Athletic’s work.
That story, by Brittany Ghiroli and Katie Strang, was explicit about Callaway’s behavior, detailing how the former Mets manager, and Cleveland and Angels pitching coach, “aggressively pursued at least five women who work in sports media, sending three of them inappropriate photos and asking one of them to send nude photos in return.” There was even more than that, and they had receipts.
Here’s Manfred’s statement Wednesday:
My office has completed its investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by Mickey Callaway. Having reviewed all of the available evidence, I have concluded that Mr. Callaway violated MLB’s policies, and that placement on the Ineligible List is warranted. We want to thank the many people who cooperated with our Department of Investigations in their work, which spanned Mr. Callaway’s positions with three Clubs. The Clubs that employed Mr. Callaway each fully cooperated with DOI, including providing emails and assisting with identifying key witnesses. Harassment has no place within Major League Baseball, and we are committed to providing an appropriate work environment for all those involved in our game.
MLB is so serious about keeping harassment out of the game that Callaway, a serial harasser across his tenure with three different teams, will be eligible to apply for reinstatement after next season. Granted, that’s a greater punishment than A.J. Hinch, now manager of the Detroit Tigers, got for his role in the Astros’ cheating scandal, but a real commitment to providing an appropriate work environment would have been saying, this guy is gone.
Callaway abused positions of power and influence to make women uncomfortable, at least, and tried to pressure them into sex, at most. He flat out should not be allowed back in the game. Instead, you can bet that before the next presidential election, this creep will be back in baseball, and some friendly media mouthpiece — perhaps from MLB’s own content warehouse — will put forth flowery odes about how he’s learned his lesson, he’s a changed man, and he’s determined to make the most of his second chance.
This isn’t some kid who was out sending dick pics where you could at least believe that there was room to grow and that maybe he came from a place where he never learned better. Callaway was in his 40s when he did this shit, supposedly a leader of men, a person of authority who, especially as Mets manager, represented the face of a multibillion-dollar franchise. There’s room to grant people second chances. Callaway not only blew it, but when he was called on it, he denied all wrongdoing.
It’s a serious punishment, yes, and it should be a deterrent to others in a similar position. But the punishment shouldn’t be about deterrence. Basic human decency should be the deterrent from being a constant sex pest. This is about whether Callaway should ever have a chance to be part of MLB again. He shouldn’t, but the door is still open because Manfred, and his bosses, the league’s owners, simply don’t care enough to take a real stand.
That shouldn’t be a surprise at this point. In fact, the only thing that’s unexpected about any of this is that MLB dropped the news on Wednesday, instead of waiting two days for the holiday weekend Friday news dump. Maybe they’ll save that for Callaway’s eventual gross reinstatement.