CLEVELAND — Following a report from The Athletic regarding the Cleveland Indians' handling of allegations of misbehavior toward women committed by former pitching coach Mickey Callaway, the team released the following statement:
"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."
The Indians' statement comes hours after The Athletic published a report alleging that manager Terry Francona, team president Chris Antonetti, and general manager Mike Chernoff confronted Callaway about his behavior after the team was contacted by a man whose wife had a consensual affair with and received "explicit photos and at least one lewd video" from the then-pitching coach. The Indians had previously denied being aware of any allegations against Callaway.
Last month, The Athletic published a report detailing multiple allegations of misbehavior committed by Callaway during his time as the manager of the New York Mets and pitching coach of the Indians. In the days that followed, Antonetti said that he had been unaware of any allegations against Callaway -- now the pitching coach of the Los Angeles Angels -- while Francona said on Tuesday that "nobody's ever deliberately covered up for anybody."
Locally, there are now calls for Major League Baseball to confront the treatment of women in the workplace. Dr. Vera Camden, a professor of English and Clinical psychology at Kent State University, who teaches college courses on the #MeToo movement, says the league must face its own social reckoning. To that end, she's concerned about reports conflating Callaway's alleged consensual affair, with the allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace.
"These two things are so different, but if you conflate them, maybe you diminish the importance of the workplace harassment question," Camden said.
Aside from the contact received by the husband of Callaway's alleged mistress, The Athletic report notes that none of the women who knew of Callaway's behavior reported it through any official channels. One expressed that if they had, the women would be negatively perceived.
Camden says that is the responsibility of the Indians organization to change that culture. She asks: Who will step up to the plate for women?
"Have the [high-profile] good guys speak up for women," she said. "That would be powerful."