The problem is evident and the solution is simple. Jared Porter gets fired by the New York Mets for being a creep and a bully to a woman who was trying to cover baseball, and a humiliation to the new people running the organization. And we mention those in that order because each on its own is more than sufficient, and because this shouldn’t be about what happens to the Mets’ front office.
Mets owner Steve Cohen this morning announced the dismissal of Porter, hired last month as GM, for incessantly sexually harassing the reporter while he was working for the Chicago Cubs. But this isn’t just a baseball story, although the culture of the sport has been decidedly hostile to women for about ever. This is about the support the anonymous woman who spoke with Mina Kimes and Jeff Passan about the matter deserves, and from whom that support should come.
And then it should fall upon the Ricketts family, who own the Cubs to no great credit, to make their own amends and fix all the things that made such an atmosphere of behavior tolerable. Denying responsibility for legal or other reasons is no longer tolerable, nor is anything less than a full comprehension of the proper level of outrage over what happened to and was allowed to happen to the woman, who has declined to identify herself publicly because of the expected blowback and left the business because of the unbearable weight she was forced to carry.
This really isn’t about Jared Porter and his career, what little is left of it. This is also not about optics; they were offensive and even repellent from the first text, and uglier still with each ensuing unsolicited message, which is saying something given that they numbered in the dozens upon dozens. This is about the end of tolerance for the notion that women should feel afraid and powerless in such circumstances and have to remain in shadow until some friendly reporter convinces her that she deserves to feel better by telling the painful stories that will make other women feel safer as a result.
But the offensive deeds and their damage to the woman are done, and other than doing what can be done to make her feel less victimized again, the Cubs and perhaps the Mets—depending on what they knew—have to make themselves accountable for first tolerating the behavior and then advancing Porter’s career. It isn’t about apportioning the wrong but creating a right in its wake, which means that what the Rickettses and Cohen must own is to be the people in a position of power to make the very idea of sexual harassment intolerable in their area of influence. This doesn’t need a seven-month investigation like the length of the one the Dallas Mavericks undertook to investigate two decades of sexual misconduct. The texts stand on their own.
And so does the action needed to right a profound wrong. Not for the sake of the visual, or the sake of the business, or even the sake of the game, but for the sake of the woman involved and every other woman who has ever wanted baseball to matter to them, and to matter to baseball in response.