CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Mickey Callaway situation reveals that the Cleveland Indians failed to create an environment in which women could feel free to report sexual harassment.
The former Indians pitching coach has been accused of inappropriate and rude conduct by five different women, according to an article in The Athletic.
Not everything happened with the Indians, where Callaway was pitching coach from 2013 to 2017. Some were with the Mets (where he coached in 2018-19) and as the Angels pitching coach (2020).
But the Indians now know that some women who received text messages and sexual comments from Callaway were reluctant to report him to the team. That is a key point.
As The Athletic Story reported: “None of the women who interacted with Callaway during their time in Cleveland reported these interactions through official channels.”
This also happened when Callaway was managing the Mets. It highlights a problem in professional sports, where some authorized men believe they are a gift from God to women and should be treated as such.
Meanwhile, women want to show that they are strong enough to handle the job in a man’s world. They also fear being interrupted by other people in baseball if they complain.
That can create a toxic environment to be exploited by characters like Callaway. He was counting on the fact that women would not speak.
And keep in mind that the biggest culprit in this story is Callaway.
Callaway reportedly had several adventures while with the Indians, who had to know about some of them. The indiscretions were “consensual,” at least as far as the Indians say they know.
In 2017, the husband of a woman involved in a long affair with Callaway contacted the Indians through the fan relations department. The team broached the issue with President Chris Antonetti, General Manager Mike Chernoff, and Manager Terry Francona. The human relations department and the legal department participated.
That is why Francona said there was no effort to cover it up.
Callaway was confronted by the team. Supposedly broke that affair.
What makes the Indians look bad is that Antonetti said this at a press conference on February 4: “There was never any complaint against Mickey in his time with us, not to me or to our human resources department or other leaders.” .
Antonetti was talking about allegations of sexual harassment. But the team knew of at least one issue that generated a complaint.
THE TENSION OFF THE FIELD
It also created tension between the players’ wives who knew Callaway was married but were bringing other women with him along the way. This guy was spending a lot of time and energy on women, something that reflects badly on a member of the coaching staff and his team.
The Athletic story reported: “Some wives shared those concerns with their husbands, and those concerns were relayed to at least one department head and one other staff member, although no formal complaint was filed with human resources or any other department, said a source ”.
Besides, it was a bad idea that Francona was the only member of the organization speaking today, when it was clear that Callaway would be the main topic. Francona, of course, didn’t say much about it. As I mentioned in the press conference, this should have been handled by someone higher than the manager.
Where the Indians went wrong
The Indians have been one of baseball’s model organizations in terms of how they treat their people. That is why many of its top executives remain on the team.
But something went wrong here.
Did the Indians ignore the rumors about Callaway, even though there were no formal complaints? I don’t know the answer. It is something the team must investigate and discover. Major League Baseball is also investigating Callaway.
Second question: Why weren’t the women (most not affiliated with the team) willing to complain? As Athletic reported, none did.
Did they think Callaway was in such a favored position with the team that their complaints would be ignored? Going forward, the Indians are committed to making sure this changes.
They have spoken with the employees to make sure they know the team will listen to them and have established stronger communication channels. They seem dedicated and sincere when it comes to doing what it takes. They must be open to change, or another situation like Mickey Callaway could happen again.
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