Upon the revelation that one of their former top executives had sexually harassed a female reporter and sent her unwanted sexually explicit images, the Chicago Cubs indicated that they would be investigating what happened.
Here’s the statement they gave to ESPN about former director of pro scouting, Jared Porter: “This story came to our attention tonight and we are not aware of this incident ever being reported to the organization. Had we been notified, we would have taken swift action as the alleged behavior is in violation of our code of conduct. While these two individuals are no longer with the organization, we take issues of sexual harassment seriously and plan to investigate the matter.”
It remains to be seen who counts as “we” and whether there’s word play going on there with not being aware “of this incident ever being reported to the organization.” But given that Porter’s behavior took place while with the Cubs, and given that it involved a woman working around the organization in a professional capacity, there’s an onus on the Cubs to find out exactly what happened – including what various individuals knew or should have known, and how the Cubs’ front office culture could have impacted Porter’s behavior. I’m not leaping to any conclusions here, but the Cubs have to confront this. It’s too important, the situation was too awful for the reporter, and there’s too much personnel continuity from 2016 to today to not find out more information.
And if the Cubs don’t conduct a thorough investigation, they might get scooped by MLB in any case:
Major League Baseball is launching an investigation into fired Mets general manager Jared Porter, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Based on the results, Porter could face suspension, which would prevent him from holding another MLB job without reinstatement.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) January 19, 2021
Obviously the league has an interest in making a determination on Porter’s future in the game – and in determining what his past teams new and/or did – but the issue here goes much deeper than one executive or the four organizations for which Porter has worked. I hope there is serious digging, and real efforts to continue to improve what can be a terrible environment in which women have to work.
Via @maddie_m_lee: The Mets firing Jared Porter is an important step. But when the ESPN story came out Monday night, female sports reporters across the country saw their own experiences reflected in that of the anonymous foreign correspondent. https://t.co/ovnYrALtCc
— Cubs Talk (@NBCSCubs) January 19, 2021