Sports | February 2, 2021 11:22 am

As Mickey Callaway Accusations Emerge, MLB Must Address a Systemic Problem With Sexual Misconduct

Callaway was accused of lewd behavior and harassment by five women

mickey callaway
Mickey Callaway of the New York Mets looks on during the game against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on August 15, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Getty Images

Less than a month after former Mets GM Jared Porter was fired for sending over 60 unanswered text messages (including some explicit images) to a female reporter, five women in sports media have come forward with accusations against former Mets manager and current Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway in a new article published by The Athletic on Monday night.

The women, who asked to remain anonymous, said Callaway frequently would send them lewd messages and comment inappropriately on their appearances. One woman claimed he sent her unsolicited shirtless selfies and repeatedly asked her to send him nude photos of herself. That same woman also said Callaway massaged her shoulders in the Mets clubhouse. Another reporter claims Callaway frequently pressured her to go on dates with him, and yet another says he thrust his crotch near her face while she was trying to conduct an interview.

Callaway’s behavior was said to be an open secret in baseball. “I got warned he was gross [beforehand],” one woman told The Athletic. “He just preyed on women.”

Callaway issued a vague statement to the publication, writing, “Rather than rush to respond to these general allegations of which I have just been made aware, I look forward to an opportunity to provide more specific responses. Any relationship in which I engaged has been consensual, and my conduct was in no way intended to be disrespectful to any women involved. I am married and my wife has been made aware of these general allegations.”

The Angels issued a statement as well, saying they take the allegations against Callaway “very seriously” and “will conduct a full investigation with MLB.”

Of course, Major League Baseball’s misogyny problem extends far beyond Callaway. His case is only the latest example of what is clearly a systemic issue within the league. Besides the Callaway and Porter incidents, three Seattle Mariners executives — including president Kevin Mather — were accused of sexual harassment by two female employees in 2018. (Mather was kept on as CEO and president.) And in 2019, the Astros fired assistant GM Brandon Taubman after he yelled, “Thank god we got Osuna! I’m so fucking glad we got Osuna!” in the direction of a group of female reporters — one of whom was wearing a purple domestic violence awareness bracelet — while celebrating the team’s ALCS victory. (Naturally, they waited until Oct. 29, 2020 to place Osuna, who received a 75-game suspension for violating the league’s domestic violence policy in 2018, on waivers.)

The fact of the matter is baseball is long overdue for a Me Too-style reckoning. Whether they’re members of the media or front office, women in baseball who are simply trying to do their jobs are regularly subjected to unwanted advances and harassment, and rather than hold the men preying on them accountable, the league — which has also historically been bad about turning a blind eye to domestic violence — has forced them to rely on whisper networks to determine who’s safe to be around and who should be avoided.

The Angels should fire Callaway and make an example of him; it’d be just the first step in helping to correct what’s clearly a widespread problem.

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