Suspended Los Angeles Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway is facing more allegations of sexual harassment as 12 current and former Indians employees have come forward to say the club was aware of his inappropriate behavior towards women during his five-year tenure in Cleveland.
Callaway was suspended by the Angels last month after five female journalists told The Athletic that he made a number of unwanted sexual advances towards them and sent inappropriate photos and texts during his previous tenures as the Indians pitching coach (2013-17) and as the manager of the New York Mets (2018-19).
The specifics of Tuesday’s report by The Athletic raise questions about when the two clubs became aware of Callaway’s alleged sexual harassment of women.
One Indians employee told The Athletic that Callaway’s behavior ‘was the worst-kept secret in the organization.’ Furthermore, the husband of a woman with whom Callaway was allegedly having an affair says he notified the club in 2017 that he caught Callaway sending the woman nude photos.
Meanwhile a former Mets employee told The Athletic that Callaway earned the nickname, ‘D*** Pic Mick’ when he was in New York.
Suspended Los Angeles Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway is facing more allegations of sexual harassment from women, many of whom claim he sent them nude photos of himself or other inappropriate messages during his tenure with the Cleveland Indians
The Mets previously told The Athletic that it was informed in August 2018 about an incident that occurred before Callaway joined the team. A spokesperson said the club investigated, but ‘declined to reveal the nature of the incident, the outcome of that probe or whether Callaway was disciplined,’ The Athletic said.
The team has not admitted to any other prior knowledge of claims against Callaway.
Indians president Chris Antonetti told reporters in February that he was unaware of the allegations until the report from The Athletic.
Now the subscription website is reporting that more women have come forward, claiming that Callaway sent them inappropriate messages and photos or otherwise made them feel uncomfortable during his time in Cleveland.
‘[Those] comments hit me the wrong way,’ a former Indians employee told The Athletic. ‘I know that’s the way Chris has to do it and run things, but the amount of people in that organization who know about all that stuff, I don’t know how he can then face his staff.’
The man who claimed he caught Callaway having an affair with his wife specifically said that he repeatedly called the organization because the pitching coach was using a team-owned phone to send pictures of his body.
On Tuesday, Indians manager Terry Francona denied that the club tried to protect Callaway. However, Francona’s son Nick wrote on Twitter that he thinks his father is lying
And as one former employee told The Athletic, Antonetti, manager Terry Francona and general manager Mike Chernoff were all aware.
‘This issue was addressed with him by the three highest-ranking baseball officials,’ the former employee said.
However, Francona said on Tuesday that neither he nor anyone else in the organization is involved in a cover up.
The specifics of Tuesday’s report by The Athletic raise questions about when the Indians became aware of Callaway’s alleged sexual harassment of women. One Indians employee told The Athletic that Callaway’s behavior ‘was the worst-kept secret in the organization.’ Indians president Chris Antonetti (pictured) told reporters in February that he was unaware of the allegations until the report from The Athletic
‘Nobody’s ever deliberately covered up for anybody, I can tell you that,’ Francona said on a Zoom call as the team began spring training in Arizona.
Shortly before Francona spoke to the media, his son, Nick, posted on Twitter that he had read the new story on Callaway and confronted his father. The younger Francona said the Indians ‘are clearly in the wrong.’
‘Their behavior is unacceptable, and even worse, it’s hard to have faith in them to improve and learn when they seem more concerned about covering up wrongdoings that addressing them honestly,’ Nick Francona wrote.
The 61-year-old Francona, who managed only 14 games last season because of health issues, said his son’s comments were painful.
‘I love all my children unconditionally,’ he said. ‘As you can imagine, that’s a very difficult thing to see. So to deal with it publicly is hurtful.’
According to The Athletic, the Indians spoke to Callaway about the incident and he did express remorse, and the website has confirmed that Major League Baseball was informed directly.
Callaway and the woman reportedly ended their consensual affair in February of 2017. The husband send a text message confronting Callaway, who reportedly had to tell MLB because the phone he was using belonged to the team. An MLB security agent, Chuck Blalock, reportedly tried to convince the husband to drop the complaint, according to The Athletic.
However, the husband still notified the Mets about the incident in 2018. According to The Athletic, Callaway admitted to the affair and text messages when he was confronted with the information.
Callaway was suspended by the Angels last month after five female journalists told The Athletic that he made a number of unwanted sexual advances towards them and sent inappropriate photos and texts during his previous tenures as the Indians pitching coach (2013-17) and as the manager of the New York Mets (2018-19)
But that was hardly an end to the rumors about Callaway within the Mets’ clubhouse, according to The Athletic’s report.
‘He was on his phone all the time,’ one Mets employee said. ‘[I was like], “Two hours before a game, buddy? Aren’t you having a meeting?” You could tell it had nothing to do with the game. It’s 5:15, who are you texting?’
Callaway reportedly did little to conceal his actions within these organizations, allegedly going so far as to reach out to connect with female colleagues on the professional networking website, LinkedIn.
‘It didn’t matter what you looked like, what size, whether you were White or Black, Asian or Hispanic, he’d be creepy towards you,’ a woman told The Athletic.
The 45-year-old Callaway previously told The Athletic that he would not respond to ‘general allegations’ and said he had only been involved in consensual relationships.
He added that his behavior ‘was in no way intended to be disrespectful to any women involved’ and that he looked forward to ‘an opportunity to provide more specific responses.’
‘I am married and my wife has been made aware of these general allegations,’ Callaway’s statement concluded.
The Mets acknowledged that they failed to properly vet Callaway before hiring him in 2019
The Athletic’s first report on Callaway came two weeks after ESPN detailed sexually explicit, uninvited text messages and images sent by former Mets general manager Jared Porter to a female reporter in 2016 when he was working for the Chicago Cubs in their front office. Porter was fired by the Mets the following morning, and Major League Baseball planned to investigate him.
Mets president Sandy Alderson, who hired Porter, was GM of the team when Callaway was hired.
Callaway gathers baseballs while wearing a mask before the game against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 10, 2020 in Anaheim
On Monday, Alderson told Mets beat writers that he expects the team to be more diligent on background checks going forward. The Mets also recently fired hitting coach Ryan Ellis after three female colleagues claimed he had harassed them with lewd texts and late-night calls.
‘With respect to the vetting process, we’ll be more intentional about communicating with women who may have had some contact, not necessarily fellow employees, but other third parties that might have come in contact,’ Alderson said.
‘We’re probably taking our background checks and so forth to a somewhat higher level to the extent that we can.’
Alderson expressed regret over the vetting process of Callaway.
‘When we when we hired Mickey, Mickey was the hot commodity,’ he said. ‘There were a number of teams that were anxious to talk to him and possibly sign him to a contract. We felt very fortunate at the time to get him based on his reputation in the game.
‘Now, that was that short-sighted on our part? Was it too narrow focus? I think the answer is probably yes. And certainly in retrospect, there probably should have been a broader assessment of his qualifications.’
Callaway managed the Mets through the end of the 2019 season.
The New York Mets fired recently hired general manager Jared Porter for similar behavior