2021 Cleveland Indians: The Mickey Callaway Crisis

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The 2021 Cleveland Indians are ushering in a new era of baseball for the franchise, and it has not exactly been the smoothest rollout so far. With Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco being traded, the only two individuals left on the 25-man roster who played in the 2016 World Series are Jose Ramirez and Roberto Perez. Ownership’s refusal to invest money into the 25 man roster by extending a homegrown player or signing a big-name free agent has led to a lack of familiar faces, and this has made the pessimists who call themselves fans look like geniuses.

To add to the morbid tone of the offseason, former pitching coach and longtime employee of the Cleveland Indians Mickey Callaway has been accused of sexual harassment towards women he’s worked alongside throughout his career. When the news first broke President Chris Antonetti distanced the Cleveland Indians organization, stating that there were no complaints or reports from within the organization about this behavior from Callaway.

2021 Cleveland Indians: The Mickey Callaway Situation

An article from The Athletic contradicts what Antonetti said, as it covers how Callaway’s behavior was known by every organization he played for. Specifically, an anonymous employee in the Cleveland Indians front office called it “the worst kept secret in the organization”. The article talks about a scandal that occurred internally after a disgruntled husband reached out to the organization because Callaway had a consensual affair with his wife. It reached the top brass of the organization, and they scrambled to make sure it was covered up.

The front office is currently skating on thin ice in fifty-degree weather and the fact that Mickey Callaway has had such a long career while women he has harassed have had to remain anonymous or were afraid to speak up because of the risk to their jobs shows the extremely problematic social norms in place throughout baseball. I’ll expand that statement and say that these happenings are common throughout America, where the abuser is protected more than the victim in and outside of the workplace.

A productive employee of a company should not work for that company if they are doing heinous acts to anyone inside or outside the workplace. The prioritization of an individual’s productivity over their ethics shows how commodifying individuals based on what they contribute as workers can come at the expense of literally anyone. It is very tiring that these things must be discussed in 2021, but it shows how far we have to go as a society. Mickey Callaway’s despicable behavior towards women went unabated through three different organizations and spanned over a decade, and that itself is a microcosm for how the mistreatment of women by front office employees, players, etc. is not taken seriously by many individuals in baseball.

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Pat Ellington Jr. is a black filmmaker, screenwriter, novelist, and sports journalist from Northeast Ohio.