Mickey Callaway allegations: Cleveland brass was aware of sexually inappropriate behavior, per report

More details are emerging about the alleged lewd behavior of current Angels pitching coach and former Mets manager Mickey Callaway. He was suspended last month following allegations of a years-long pattern of sexual harassment toward women, and more details were revealed Tuesday. MLB and the Angels are investigating the allegations and have been doing so for one month.

The Athletic, which also reported the initial story on Callaway’s inappropriate conduct, ran another story Tuesday. More women spoke to The Athletic about Callaway, and the report also shed new light on how much Cleveland knew about allegations against him. Callaway served as Cleveland’s pitching coach from 2013-2017. Here are the details from The Athletic:

  • “More women have come forward to say that Callaway made them uncomfortable by sending them inappropriate messages and/or photos, making unwanted advances and more while they worked for the Indians.”
  • “In 2017, an angry husband repeatedly called the team’s fan services department to complain that Callaway had sent ‘pornographic material’ to his wife.” The content of those calls was eventually relayed to Cleveland club president Chris Antonetti, general manager Mike Chernoff and manager Terry Francona. After the allegations against Callaway initially surfaced, Antonetti said in a press conference that he was previously unaware of Callaway’s alleged behaviors. 
  • “Additionally, an MLB security official contacted the husband and told him: “Mickey wants this all to go away,” and the husband later emailed MLB directly about Callaway.”

Here’s more:

Over the past month, The Athletic has interviewed 22 people who interacted with Callaway during his years in the Indians organization, including 12 current and former employees. They say that Callaway’s sexual indiscretions permeated the workplace to such an extent that it would have been difficult for top officials to not be aware of his behavior, and they push back against any assertion that Callaway’s actions, when made public by The Athletic last month, caught team executives or MLB by surprise.

“I laughed out loud when I saw the quote (in The Athletic’s original report) that said it was the worst-kept secret in baseball, because it was,” said one Indians employee. “It was the worst-kept secret in the organization.”

Where things currently stand with Callaway is he’s under suspension from his job with the Angels and is under investigation by both the Angels and Major League Baseball.

One of the biggest takeaways in the new reporting was the Cleveland brass knowing about Callaway’s behavior and choosing to try and sweep it under the rug, specifically Antonetti. More from the report:

But Antonetti’s declaration that “there had never been any complaints against Mickey in his time with us, either to me or to our human resources department or other leaders,” prompted multiple people who interacted with Callaway during his time in the Indians organization to contact The Athletic and accuse Antonetti of being evasive.

“(Those) comments hit me the wrong way,” said one former Indians employee. “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.”

From the reporting, it looks like Francona knew as well. At one point in the article, The Athletic reported there was a recording in which someone could be heard suggesting Francona said something along the lines of he won’t lose his pitching coach. Later, though, the attributed source of the quote denied it was authentic. Regardless, it sounds like Francona knew something and his son, Nick, released the following statement Tuesday

“I was disappointed to read the reporting in The Athletic this morning by Katie Strang and Britt Ghiroli. Unfortunately, I cannot say that I am surprised. When the news about Mickey Callaway’s behavior first came out earlier this year, I confronted my father, Chris Antonetti, and others with the Cleveland Indians,” Nick Francona wrote. “I wanted to know why they didn’t say anything to me when the Mets hired Mickey Callaway and they gave him a strong endorsement. My father lied to me and said he didn’t know. Additionally, I think he and his colleagues fail to understand what is acceptable behavior and what isn’t.

“I confronted my father again this morning and it is clear that he simply doesn’t get it. I am hesitant to get into the personal details of my family situation, but my father and I do not have a particularly close relationship, largely as a result of disagreements about his conduct, some of which has been reported over the years, and some of which has not.” 

Nick Francona has experience in the scouting departments of the Dodgers and Mets, as noted in his statement. 

Cleveland released the following statement regarding Callaway later on Tuesday:

“Our organization continues to actively cooperate with MLB on their investigation into Mickey Callaway. It is important we honor the confidentiality and integrity of that investigation. While we don’t believe the reporting to date reflects who we are as an organization, we will not comment further on the specifics of this matter.

“We remain committed to creating an inclusive work environment where everyone, regardless of gender, can feel safe and comfortable at all times. We will let our actions – not just our words – reflect our commitment.”  

Angels manager Joe Maddon declined to comment on Callaway’s status last month. Callaway joined the Angels ahead of the 2020 season.

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