'Distraught' Cleveland president vows focus on safe workplace efforts after Mickey Callaway allegations

Cassandra Negley
·3-min read

Cleveland Indians president Chris Antonetti said he was “disturbed” and “distraught” to read the allegations of “unrelenting” inappropriate behavior by former pitching coach Mickey Callaway toward five women in sports media.

Antonetti reiterated the Indians’ statement from earlier in the week that the club was unaware of his alleged behavior before the story printed Monday night in The Athletic. In a video call with reporters on Thursday he praised the courage the women had to come forward and vowed to create a better work environment.

Antonetti ‘disturbed’ at Callaway allegations

Five women who covered or worked with Callaway over his career told The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli and Katie Strang that Callaway repeatedly was inappropriate with them on the beat. It included text messages, photos and in-person remarks. The Los Angeles Angels suspended Callaway, their pitching coach, on Tuesday. He was formerly the New York Mets manager for two seasons and was the Indians pitching coach from 2013-17.

The Indians organization will cooperate with MLB’s investigation into the behavior, which Antonttti said, via the Akron Beacon Journal, has “absolutely no place in any workplace and certainly not in our organization, either.”

"I know I shared this in our organizational statement, but I want to be really clear: The behaviors described in that article have absolutely no place in any workplace and certainly not in our organization,” he said. “When I read them, I was disturbed, I was distraught and saddened to read them. It’s my responsibility as a leader of this organization to re-double our efforts to make sure that we have a safe and inclusive environment. I do want to address one thing: When I read the article, that was the first time I became aware of the alleged behaviors."

He told reporters his first thought was appreciation for the courage the reporters had in writing the article and listening to the experiences of their female colleagues. He said he was “encouraged that women in the industry and elsewhere” feel empowered to share their experiences and hopeful it will change the industry for the better.

How the Indians are improving work environment

Chris Antonetti looking distraught.
Chris Antonetti, president of the Cleveland Indians, said the club is refocusing efforts on creating an inclusive environment after the Mickey Callaway allegations. (Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The allegations against Callaway are only the latest in a long string of inappropriate behavior by men of power in MLB and sports at large. It was not even two weeks ago the Mets fired Jared Porter after ESPN reported and shared unsolicited, explicit text messages he sent to a female reporter in 2016.

Antonetti said his team is working to create a safe work environment after the Calloway allegations and noted that the current protocols in place are clearly not “sufficient.”

“We’ve engaged with teammates across the organization, both personally and organization-wide,” Antonetti said. “We are in the process of forming an internal working group specifically focused on thinking about what are the things we can be doing to ensure we’re creating, not only a safe and accepting, but a really inclusive environment for women, as well as all underrepresented groups in the organization? A lot of work can be done, but we have already started that process.”

He continued, via the Beacon Journal:

“The responsibility for sharing behaviors like this doesn't only fall on the victim, it falls upon anyone who's in the environment and sees or observes it. To the extent anyone did see or observe these behaviors, they were never reported or never shared and obviously we can only do things about what we know about. And that's why I do think it's so important to do what I talked about earlier, which is continue to think about and create channels for people to share and have an outlet to the extent this behavior ever happens. Again, our goal is to create an environment a workplace where these behaviors never happen. And that's the standard.”

Callaway, 45, declined to address any specific allegations in a statement to The Athletic earlier this week.

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