CLEVELAND (AP) — Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said Wednesday he couldn’t comment on his previous remarks about Mickey Callaway’s conduct due to Major League Baseball’s ongoing investigation into sexual harassment allegations against the team’s former pitching coach.
Antonetti joined Terry Francona for the manager’s Zoom availability from training camp in Arizona, a day after a story by The Athletic said several former Indians employees had come forward in the last month to say the team’s front office was aware of Callaway’s behavior.
The unidentified employees responded to Antonetti’s public comments on Feb. 4 that he didn’t know about Callaway’s lewd actions until he read a previous Athletic story.
At the time, Antonetti said “there had never been any complaints against Mickey in his time with us, either to me or to our human resources department or other leaders.”
Antonetti was asked Wednesday if he stood by his earlier comments.
“I very much want to answer that,” he said. “At this point I’m not able to. The last time we talked, the investigation had not yet started, so I had more latitude with what I was able to share. With the ongoing investigation, the most important thing is that the investigation is able to maintain its integrity, its thoroughness, its impartiality.
“And I don’t want to do anything that would jeopardize that investigation. As importantly, we look forward to learning what that investigation reveals so we can make sure that we address everything in totality and not in piecemeal.
On Tuesday, Francona said there was no deliberate attempt to cover up for Callaway, who was with the Indians from 2010-17 — serving as the pitching coach for five years — before he being hired as manager of the New York Mets.
Callaway has been suspended as the Los Angeles Angels pitching coach, pending the outcome of MLB’s investigation.
Antonetti said he should have been the one to deliver the team’s message on Tuesday, and not Francona. He reiterated the team is “fully cooperating with the investigation.”
In the most recent story, the husband of a woman who had an extramarital affair with Callaway contacted the Indians multiple times to complain about his behavior in 2017. Callaway told The Athletic that “any relationship in which I was engaged has been consensual, and my conduct was in no way intended to be disrespectful to any women involved.”
One Indians employee told The Athletic that Callaway’s behavior was “the worst-kept secret in the organization.”
Antonetti, who has been with Cleveland’s organization since 1999, said the team has already taken steps to “building an inclusive culture.”