Nick Francona, the son of Cleveland manager Terry Francona and a former Dodgers and Mets executive, called out his father and the Cleveland organization for their response to a series of reports from The Athletic, which detail multiple accounts of sexual harassment from former pitching coach Mickey Callaway.
"When the news about Mickey Callaway's behavior first came out earlier this year, I confronted my father, Chris Antonetti, and others with the Cleveland Indians. I wanted to know why they didn't say anything to me when the Mets hired Mickey Callaway and they gave him a strong endorsement," Francona said in a statement released Tuesday. "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."
A follow-up report published in The Athletic on Tuesday said that MLB and Cleveland likely knew about Callaway's behavior when he worked for the club, which preceded the Mets' and Angels' decision to hire Callaway in various capacities.
In last month's Athletic report, five women spoke about their experiences with Callaway over a five-year span. He reportedly sent inappropriate photographs and unsolicited messages to "at least five women who work in sports media." The women detailed interactions in which they said Callaway sent sexually explicit messages, crudely commented on their appearance and in one instance, "thrust his crotch near the face of a reporter as she interviewed him."
Since the first report's publication, additional women have spoken to The Athletic to share their accounts of Callaway "sending them inappropriate messages and/or photos, making unwanted advances and more while they worked for [Cleveland]."
"I confronted my father again this morning and it is clear that he simply doesn't get it," Francona said. "I am hesitant to get into the personal details of my family situation, but my father and I do not have a particularly close relationship, largely as a result of disagreements about his conduct, some of which has been reported over the years, and some of which has not.
"I have always tried to stand up for what I felt was right, even when it wasn't easy. In this case, that means acknowledging that my own father and his colleagues are clearly in the wrong."
Following Nick's statement, Terry Francona told reporters, according to Cleveland.com's Hayden Grove, that "I love all my kids unconditionally. ... That's a very difficult thing to see. To deal with it publicly is hurtful."
“I have never worked in a place where I have more respect for people than here,” the two-time World Series winner said. “And I’ve been very fortunate to work for some wonderful people. I believe that in my heart.
“I don’t think today is the day to go into details, things like that. I do hope there is a day, because I think it would be good, and I think it’s necessary,” he said.
Francona said the Indians plan to release a statement further addressing the matter.
The Angels suspended Callaway in February and said they will work closely with MLB, which is investigating his conduct during his employment with multiple organizations. ESPN's Alden Gonzalez reported that Callaway is protected from being fired without an investigation since he has denied wrongdoing.
On Monday, Mets president Sandy Alderson said the team was "shortsighted" in its hiring process when vetting Callaway.
Alderson hired Callaway in October 2017, after he had served as Cleveland's pitching coach. Callaway spent two seasons as the Mets' manager before being fired and landing a job with the Angels.
In 2018, Francona left the Mets after serving as the team's assistant director of player development. He had fired by the Dodgers after a clash with Gabe Kapler, then the organization’s director of player development.
"Their behavior is unacceptable and, even worse, it's hard to have faith in them to improve and learn when they seem more concerned about covering up wrongdoings than addressing them honestly," Nick Francona said.
A Cleveland employee told The Athletic that Callaway's behavior was "the worst-kept secret in the organization."