The worst kind of coward is the one who preys on the vulnerable, those who in many ways are powerless to fight back or far less likely to be believed in a he said-she said situation.
The kind of coward Mickey Callaway is.
Until Wednesday, Callaway was the Los Angeles Angels' pitching coach, a former Major League Baseball manager.
Now he's just an unemployed creep.
Callaway used his position as a coach and potential source for multiple female media members to persistently harass them, sending no fewer than five women texts, emails, even LinkedIn messages trying to get them to get drunk with him. He asked for topless photos in response to the unsolicited shirtless photos he was sending them. When he saw them in person he was no less persistent, making inappropriate comments about getting together with them or their appearance or other things that made them uncomfortable.
The offensive behavior was revealed by Brittany Ghiroli and Katie Strang of The Athletic earlier this year, with information provided by the women Callaway harassed and others. MLB opened an investigation not long after Ghiroli and Strang's report was published, and on Wednesday the league announced Callaway had been banned through the end of the 2022 season.
The Angels promptly fired him.
Some of it was laziness, since Callaway was hitting on women he came in contact with on a day-to-day basis, in what is supposed to be a professional setting, women who dutifully reported to the ballpark to do their jobs, to share with their respective audiences what was happening within and around the teams they were covering.
But Callaway knew he had information he could give those women that would help them advance in their careers, and he tried to exploit that. One woman received an email from Callaway — from his official Mets account, while he was manager of the club — telling her to get drunk with him and he'd "tell [her] what's going on with the team."
As a woman whose job it is to get information on the team you're assigned to cover, it's a terribly unfair situation to be in, and Callaway knew it.
You're put in the position of saying yes and potentially getting yourself into a dangerous, compromising spot at worst, and journalistically unethical position at best; if you say no, you're potentially burning a critical source. Few people know more about the ins and outs of a team than its manager. If you're not breaking stories or getting fresh information, you may not be on the beat for long.
Given that woman after woman in The Athletic's story said Callaway's propensity for inappropriate behavior was well known throughout MLB, it's a stretch to believe his predation was limited to the five women who were brave enough to share their stories with the outlet.
Add in further reporting that's been done on the incredibly toxic environment women who work for the Mets have had to endure, the team that hired both Callaway and Jared Porter, and it is a near certainty that MLB's investigation turned up more. (Porter was fired as the team's general manager earlier this year just days into the job after an international media member shared how he'd sexually harassed her.)
In a perfect world, Callaway's suspension would just be a formality and he'd never work for another baseball team again, though history tells us differently. This is a league that saw the Houston Astros trade for and celebrate relief pitcher Roberto Osuna while he was on trial for domestic assault.
If Callaway never works in MLB again, it's more likely to be because the Angels' pitching staff had an atrocious 5.09 ERA this season and his Mets managerial tenure was a disappointment. It's not any different than the Ray Rice and Greg Hardy cases in the NFL: had Rice not posted a paltry 3.1 yards per attempt in the season before his elevator punch of now-wife Janay, he likely would have gotten another chance with another team; Hardy had 15 sacks before he assaulted and threatened to kill his on-again, off-again girlfriend, so Jerry Jones was more than happy to give him a shot once his league punishment was completed.
For media pass-carrying women throughout Major League Baseball, hopefully there's a sigh of relief now that Callaway has been suspended and fired. There's one fewer creep who will prey on them while they try to do their jobs, one fewer person who thinks the media members are there for their twisted sport, not to try to build a career.
We're not so naive to think he was the only one. There's just one fewer. Maybe once they see that MLB will hand out substantial penalties for such behavior, others will police themselves.
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