Francona responds to new report about former Cleveland Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — A new report is raising allegations of improper behavior by former Cleveland Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway during his seven years with the team, calling it the “worst kept secret” in the organization.

The Athletic first reported last month that Callaway aggressively pursued at least five women who work in sports media, sending three of them inappropriate photos.

At the time, Indians president Chris Antonetti said there were never complaints made to the organization.

A second report from The Athletic, out Tuesday, says several Indians employees and other women were the target of sexually inappropriate behavior during his tenure.

Pitching coach Mickey Callaway #13 of the Cleveland Indians talks with manager Terry Francona #17 of the Cleveland Indians during the second inning of a game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on September 2, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. The Indians defeated the Tigers 5-2. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Sources told the outlet it would be hard for team leaders to not know about the improper behavior, including an affair with a married woman whose husband says he contacted the Indians.

Callaway went on to manage the New York Mets, and he was suspended from his current job as the Angels pitching coach after the first report.

In a post on Twitter, Nick Francona, son of Tribe Manager Terry Francona, wrote that he was disappointed by the allegations but not surprised.  In the post, Nick Francona said he does not have a “particularly close relationship” with his father, largely as a result of disagreements about his conduct.

Nick Francona said, after The Athletic first published an article about allegations against Callaway, he raised concerns with his father, as well as Indians President Chris Antonetti, and others in the organization.

“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,” he said in the Twitter post.

Francona responded to his son’s comments by saying he loves his children unconditionally.

“As you can imagine that’s a very difficult thing to see, so to deal with it publicly is hurtful,” Francona said.

In a previously scheduled press conference from spring training in Arizona Tuesday, Terry Francona also said the organization takes the allegations “very, very seriously” and that “nobody’s ever deliberately covered up for anybody.”

He declined to answer several questions about the allegations, and said the Indians planned to put out a written statement later in the day, which they did.

“Out of respect to that and to the Major League Baseball investigation right now is just not the right time to respond to some of the questions I’m sure you have,” Francona told reporters. “I do hope at some point we are able to because I think we need to.”

The Indians said the following statement is in regards to “recent reports” about Callaway.

“Our organization continues to actively cooperate with MLB on their investigation into Mickey Callaway. It is important we honor the confidentiality and integrity of that investigation. While we don’t believe the reporting to date reflects who we are as an organization, we will not comment further on the specifics of this matter.  

We remain committed to creating an inclusive work environment where everyone, regardless of gender, can feel safe and comfortable at all times. We will let our actions – not just our words – reflect our commitment.” 

The team did not make Antonetti available for comment at the press conference.

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