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Monday November 29th, 2021 1:02AM

Callaway banned through at least 2022 after harassment probe

By The Associated Press
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NEW YORK (AP) — Former New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway was suspended by Major League Baseball on Wednesday through at least the end of the 2022 season following an investigation of sexual harassment allegations.

Shortly after MLB's announcement of the suspension, the Los Angeles Angels said they had fired Callaway, the team's pitching coach since October 2019. The Angels suspended him on Feb. 2 at the start of MLB's investigation.

Commissioner Rob Manfred did not release details of what MLB's probe determined, but said in a statement “I have concluded that Mr. Callaway violated MLB’s policies, and that placement on the ineligible list is warranted."

In a report published on Feb. 1, The Athletic said Callaway “aggressively pursued” several women who work in sports media and sent three of them inappropriate photos.

Callaway sent uninvited and sometimes unanswered messages to the women via email, text or social media and asked one to send nude photos in return, according to the report. He often commented on their appearance in a way that made them uncomfortable and on one occasion “thrust his crotch near the face of a reporter” while she interviewed him, The Athletic said.

“We want to thank the many people who cooperated with our Department of Investigations in their work, which spanned Mr. Callaway’s positions with three different clubs," Manfred said. “The clubs that employed Mr. Callaway each fully cooperated with DOI, including providing emails and assisting with identifying key witnesses."

Manfred said once the 2022 season ends, Callaway can apply for possible reinstatement.

Callaway did not respond to a text from The Associated Press seeking comment.

ESPN reported a statement it said was from Callaway that it quoted as saying: “I apologize to the women who shared with investigators any interaction that made them feel uncomfortable. To be clear, I never intended to make anyone feel this way and didn’t understand that these interactions might do that or violate MLB policies. However, those are my own blind spots, and I take responsibility for the consequences."

The 46-year-old was the Cleveland Indians’ pitching coach for five years before managing the Mets from 2018-19.

“In an effort to understand and learn from this experience, the commissioner’s office shared with us forward-looking recommendations based on insights they gleaned from the time Mickey Callaway was a member of our organization," Indians owner Paul Dolan said in a statement.

“While we were not provided with details of the report or of individual experiences or accounts, there was no finding against the Cleveland Indians related to the Callaway matter."

Dolan went on to say “the information the commissioner’s office shared reinforces our own conclusion that we did not do enough as an organization to create an environment where people felt comfortable reporting the inappropriate conduct they experienced or witnessed. We have contracted with an external expert with extensive experience related to workplace culture and reporting practices to help strengthen the organization."

Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said the club was not penalized as a result of the investigation but, like Dolan, lamented the team had not produced a work culture in which women were comfortable reporting sexual harassment.

“That’s what bothers me,” Antonetti said. “So I want to make sure that we do everything that we can to create a better environment moving forward. That’s what I and we are exclusively focused on is how do we continue to grow and get better organizationally.”

The Mets will let their previous comments on Callaway stand, spokesman Harold Kaufman said.

Callaway spent the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season as the Angels' pitching coach under new manager Joe Maddon.

“From what I understand, Mickey owned up to it. I think that's pretty strong," Maddon said. “I am sure not only us but other organizations, groups not only in baseball but I think in industry in general are all looking at the hiring process a little bit differently right now. ... I think vetting is going to become a little bit more stringent.”

Bullpen coach Matt Wise has been serving as the pitching coach for the Angels,

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AP Sports Writers Larry Lage in Detroit and Joe Reedy in Anaheim, California, contributed to this report.

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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