New York Mets president Sandy Alderson said Monday the organization's decision to hire manager Mickey Callaway in 2017 was questionable in the wake of a report in February from Brittany Ghiroli and Katie Strang of The Athletic that five women accused Callaway of sexual harassment.
"When we hired Mickey, Mickey was the hot commodity," Alderson told reporters. "There were a number of teams that were anxious to talk to him and possibly sign him to a contract. We felt very fortunate at the time to get him based on his reputation in the game. Now, was that shortsighted on our part and too narrow a focus? I think the answer is probably yes."
The Athletic's report detailed the specifics of Callaway's alleged sexual harassment:
"[Callaway] aggressively pursued at least five women who work in sports media, sending three of them inappropriate photographs and asking one of them to send nude photos in return. He sent them unsolicited electronic messages and regularly commented on their appearance in a manner that made them uncomfortable. In one instance, he thrust his crotch near the face of a reporter as she interviewed him. In another, he told one of the women that if she got drunk with him he'd share information about the Mets."
Per that report, the actions took place over five years while Callaway was with three different teams. Additionally, the Mets told Ghiroli and Strang that they learned in Aug. 2018 of one alleged incident that took place prior to his hiring and investigated the situation, though they didn't further elaborate on their findings or whether Callaway was disciplined.
"I think especially in retrospect, there probably should've been a broader assessment of his qualifications," Alderson told reporters regarding Callaway's hiring. "In terms of people we actually talked to, there were no reservations. I think the process should've been broader. We've learned that lesson and the process that we currently have is and will be broader than it was in 2018."
Callaway, 45, spent two seasons as the team's manager, going 163-161.
The report on Callaway came in the same offseason as the Mets firing general manager Jared Porter and hitting performance coordinator Ryan Ellis after women in sports media and within the organization accused both men of sexual harassment.
Alderson said that has led to a change in how the Mets vet potential hires.
"In respect to the vetting process, we're being more intentional about communicating with women that have had some contact, not necessarily fellow employees, but other third parties that might have come in contact," he told reporters. "We're probably taking our background checks to a somewhat higher level to the extent that we can."