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Cleveland Indians respond to alleged inappropriate behavior by former pitching coach Mickey Callaway in report

"Our organization unequivocally does not condone this type of behavior."

CLEVELAND — According to a report in The Athletic, former Cleveland Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway engaged in a series of alleged inappropriate acts toward several women who work in sports media for a period of five years while working for three different teams, including the Tribe.

The Indians issued the following statement on Monday evening: "We were made aware for the first time tonight of the allegations in The Athletic regarding Mickey Callaway’s behavior towards women.  We are currently reviewing the matter internally and in consultation with Major League Baseball to determine appropriate next steps.  Our organization unequivocally does not condone this type of behavior.  We seek to create an inclusive work environment where everyone, regardless of gender, can feel safe and comfortable to do their jobs."  

The Athletic's report from Brittany Ghiroli and Katie Strang states that Callaway, now the pitching coach of the Los Angeles Angels, "aggressively pursued" at least five women who work in sports media, sending three of them inappropriate photographs and asking one of them to send nude photos in return. The story adds that the former Mets manager sent the women unsolicited electronic messages and regularly commented on their appearance in a manner that made them uncomfortable.

"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," Callaway told The Athletic. "Any relationship in which I was 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."

Callaway coached in the Indians organization from 2010-2017, spending his last five seasons as the team’s pitching coach. Two of the accounts of Callaway's alleged inappropriate behavior in The Athletic's story came while he was working in Cleveland. 

Ghiroli and Strang detail an interaction that a reporter named Rachel (not her real name) had with Callaway was in 2016, when he was the pitching coach for the Indians. 

"During that season, he made a pass at her at Progressive Field, where Rachel worked in the sports media industry. Callaway commented on her appearance and stared at her in a way that she found inappropriate, Rachel remembers. She brushed it off. It was the type of behavior that she, not unlike many women in the business, has experienced before. 

He was trying to make conversation in a flirty-type of way. It sounds cynical, but it was an eye-roll situation,” she said of their first interaction. “He isn’t the only person who has done this. She had limited dealings with Callaway after that, but then, months later, during baseball’s offseason, she says a message from him came across her screen. 

Did you get a new job?” Callaway messaged her on LinkedIn, with a sad face emoji. “Keep in mind,” Rachel said, “I didn’t have any rapport with him at all. I said, ‘No, I’m just updating my profile.’

Callaway made a comment about how much he liked her profile picture. Then he messaged again: “Got any big plans for new year’s?”

She ignored the message but Callaway continued, trying to make lighter conversation; she tried to diplomatically respond, without writing anything that would prompt him to engage further."

Neither Rachel nor any other women reached by The Athletic knew about any formal complaints filed when Callaway was in Cleveland. Two other female reporters who worked in and around Cleveland at the time heard rumors about Callaway’s misbehavior with women were rampant and one of them was warned to stay away from him. 

The Athletic also detailed a story about another advance Callaway made towards a California-based reporter in 2015.

"Before one game she was covering, he commented on the boots she was wearing and asked where she was from.

Callaway then asked the correspondent, who was taking photos of players as they emerged from the dugout before the game, if she could email him some of the photos she had taken. She obliged, and shortly thereafter he began to text her. (She believes he obtained her cellphone number via the signature portion of her emails.)

“He was trying to hang out,” she said of the nature of the messages. Still young and trying to gain a foothold in the business, Hilary met Callaway for a beer at a bar near where the Indians were staying in California. She told him up front that she was not interested in sleeping with him. Hilary also asked about Callaway’s marital status; she says he told her he was separated from his wife. Callaway didn’t push the issue, and the two ran into each other the following day at the ballpark. Their interactions were normal and professional, though Callaway continued to text her for approximately a week after they went for drinks. One of those text messages, she said, included a selfie of him shirtless. 

At the time that Callaway was pursuing the correspondent, Hilary showed a male friend a stream of text messages from Callaway. The friend corroborated that he had read the text messages, which he remembers as “flirtatious” and, given the power imbalance between the two, inappropriate."

A source told ESPN's Alden Gonzales that Major League Baseball plans to launch an investigation into Callaway. MLB said in a statement that it "has never been notified of any allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior by Mickey Callaway."

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Editor's Note: The below podcast is from January 8, 2021