Concerns about Bob Bowman’s workplace behavior date back more than a decade.
When Bob Bowman, the longtime head of MLB’s wildly successful technology offshoot, announced last month that he was leaving the company, it was not by choice, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Bowman was “forced out” by commissioner Rob Manfred due to a pattern of inappropriate workplace behavior, according to the Journal. That behavior included propositioning women he worked with, consensual relationships with his subordinates and promoting a rock and roll culture of heavy drinking and wild parties with women believed to be escorts.
The tipping point, Manfred told the Journal, was an October incident in which Bowman “verbally abused a coworker.” MLB announced on Nov. 6 that Bowman would not seek to have his contract renewed after it expired at the end of this year.
“The culture that started at BAM was hard working and driven. At times, it was also inappropriate and I take full responsibility,” Bowman said in a statement to the Journal. “This inappropriate behavior reflects my personal flaws and not someone else’s. This behavior and my personal behavior were wrong. To those who felt the sting of my behavior, I am truly sorry. To my family, friends and business colleagues who have been steadfastly supportive of me, and whom I have embarrassed, I apologize.”
Bowman is also accused of shoving an executive of the Red Sox’ parent company at the All-Star Game in Miami this summer.
Concerns about Bowman’s behavior date back to the early days of MLBAM, including an incident in the early 2000’s where he called two women a sexist slur.
“He would just talk down to people,” one person told the Journal. “He was often yelling. Just disrespectful.”
Bowman was CEO and president of MLB Advanced Media (later spun off as BAMTech) for 17 years. The tech company has been a windfall for MLB, responsible for the league’s website, all the team sites, MLB’s popular At Bat app and its MLB.tv streaming service. The NHL, WWE, ESPN and HBO also use the company’s video streaming technology and that side of the company was spun off as BAMTech and sold to the Walt Disney Company in 2016 for over $2.5 billion. It was a staggering return on the initial investment of $120 million ($4 million from each team) made in 2000 to launch the venture.