CLEVELAND -- The Tribe had news to discuss. Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti was sitting down to join his first Zoom call with local media after the signings of free agents Eddie Rosario and Cesar Hernandez, but Antonetti was clear he wanted to discuss other -- more important -- news first.
Before taking any baseball-related questions, Antonetti addressed the article from The Athletic that included stories of five women who accused former Tribe pitching coach Mickey Callaway of lewd behavior. Two of the reported accusations occurred while he was with Cleveland.
“I wanted to first share my personal reaction,” Antonetti said. “The first thing that struck me was how much I appreciate the courage that Brittany [Ghiroli] and Katie [Strang] showed in writing the article. I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it was for them to hear their experiences of their female colleagues throughout the industry and then to write that story. I am encouraged that women in the industry and elsewhere are feeling more empowered to share their experiences and I’m hopeful that their courage will lead to a better future for our industry.
“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. 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. As importantly, when we don’t and there are behaviors that are inconsistent with how people should be treated, we also have safe channels for them to share that so they can be handled appropriately. We know we have a lot of work to do to create that safe, inclusive environment that we want to continue to build organizationally, but I am committed to make sure that happens.”
The Indians first learned of the reports against Callaway when the story was released. Major League Baseball is now heading an investigation to look into the allegations against him. While MLB investigates, the Tribe has already begun working on making its own internal changes.
“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.”
As Antonetti looks to lead his organization through these changes, he’s using his own daughters as inspiration to create the best work environment that he can.
“I have two daughters myself, and I think about the environment that I want them to be part of when they join the workforce or any place that they are,” Antonetti said. “And not only does it need to be safe, but it really needs to be inclusive and equitable. And I know that we have work to do to create the environment I would want for my daughters, and that's the exact same environment I would want for every teammate across our organization.
“Had we known about the behaviors that were described in the article at the time, we would have acted on them. But we didn’t.”