CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Indians are at the center of swirling allegations about former pitching coach Mickey Callaway and his alleged inappropriate behavior with women that reportedly occurred not only during his time with the organization but over the course of at least five years with three different teams.
When The Athletic first reported on the former Indians coach on Feb. 1, the Indians organization released the following statement:
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.
Callaway was suspended by the Los Angeles Angels, where he was working as a pitching coach, on Feb. 2. He had previously coached for the Indians from 2013-2017 and was the manager for the New York Mets from 2017-2019.
Just a few days later, Indians President Chris Antonetti spoke to the media, addressing the report. Antonetti echoed the organization’s statement, remaining adamant that he nor anyone else in the organization had any knowledge of what allegedly occurred.
“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,” Antonetti said on Feb. 4. “When I read them I was disturbed. I was distraught and saddened to read them.”
Antonetti went on to take questions about the report and added one last statement.
“I do want to just address one thing—when I read the article, that was the first time I became aware of the alleged behaviors,” Antonetti said.
On Tuesday, The Athletic published a follow-up report, detailing the coach's time with the Indians and what team officials knew.
Hours later, the Indians made Francona available to the media ahead of the team’s spring training game against the Seattle Mariners.
"Before we start, let me say something okay? And then we can go from there and move on to whatever we need to," Francona said. "I know there's probably a lot of questions today about what was written in The Athletic, and I fully respect that and I know the organization is putting out a response. Out of respect to that and the Major League Baseball investigation, right now is just not the right time to respond to some of the questions I'm sure you have."
Francona said that while he wouldn't be answering any questions regarding the reports, he does hope that "at some point, we are able to, because I think we need to and just know we take this very, very serious."
Francona was pressed about the reports during the press conference, to which he responded with praise for the organization.
"I have never worked in a place where I have more respect for people than here, and I've been very fortunate to work for some wonderful people, and I believe that in my heart," Francona said. "Again, I don't think today is the day to go into details and things like that. I do hope there is a day because I think it would be good, and I think it's necessary."
When asked if the Indians organization was covering up for Callaway, Francona refuted that notion.
"Nobody's ever deliberately covered up for anybody, I can tell you that," Francona said.
Following the latest report from The Athletic, Francona’s son, Nick, took to social media to issue a statement.
“Unfortunately, I cannot say I am surprised,” Nick wrote. “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.”
In Nick’s statement, he said he does not have a “particularly close relationship” with his father and said he discussed the latest report with him Tuesday morning.
Francona commented on his son’s statement when asked about it during the Tuesday afternoon press conference.
"I love all my children unconditionally and, as you can imagine, that's a very difficult thing to see, so to deal with it publicly is hurtful," Francona said.
The Indians released the following statement Tuesday afternoon:
“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.”
To read the latest report from The Athletic, click here.