Sandy Alderson must go
The Mets president's response to his team's toxic workplace culture reveals his utter failure to grasp the gravity of the situation.
This morning Katie Strang and Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic published the latest in their ongoing investigation into the toxic workplace culture of the New York Mets. The report detailed sexist and inappropriate comments and text messages, discrimination based on pregnancy, and other allegations of several Mets employees, both current and former.
While the details contained in the report, like the previously-reported details about the behavior of former Mets manager Mickey Callaway and former Mets general manager Jared Porter, are vile, today’s report contained a response from team president Sandy Alderson that does more to explain why that behavior has been tolerated by the Mets than anything else to date.
After 3,500 words setting forth detailed allegations by Mets employees about serious misconduct on the part of other Mets employees — and detailed allegations about the indifference to such reports by the Mets’ previous owners, senior management, legal department, and human resources department — team President Sandy Alderson, who was no doubt confronted with all of these details by the reporters, said this:
In an interview, Alderson chastised The Athletic for what he felt was an unfair characterization of how the organization handled allegations of wrongdoing. He also felt some stories spotlighted employees who were tasked with gathering information but were not decision-makers.
“Let me try to make a point as strongly as I can, OK? Not every instance involving men, women in the workplace is a capital offense, OK? Every time something happens, it doesn’t mean somebody has to be fired,” Alderson said. “There are a lot of intermediate steps that can be taken and we’ve done that in a variety of different cases. And have included capital punishment as a consequence in some cases, but not every case rises to the level of execution. And that’s what honestly I think is happening with these articles (in The Athletic). People are getting executed, including women, by the way, for reasons that are unjustifiable . . . Is there ever a statute of limitations on coverage of some of this stuff?”
It’s both telling and astounding that after months of stories detailing the toxic workplace culture of the New York Mets, the strongest statement Alderson has made so far, by orders of magnitude, is a grouchy, defensive, and overly-dramatic complaint about the reporting on it. At no time since the Porter and Callaway allegations emerged has Alderson come anywhere close to making the point “as strongly as he can” that the club takes such behavior as seriously as it takes the reporting on it.
Alderson likewise makes no effort to square his “hey, not EVERYTHING is a capital offense!” stance with the fact that the Mets have fired exactly one person, Jared Porter, over any of this stuff. Hell, as today’s report makes clear, the team’s own HR department wouldn’t even take complaints about these things from the victims of the harassment and some of the victims were actually punished for even raising the issue.
In light of all of that, Alderson’s allusion to the abusive men the Mets have and continue to employ being subject to lethal consequences — capital punishment! execution! — is ironic in the extreme. Hardly anyone involved has faced a single consequence, actually. Moreover, Alderson’s reference to a “statute of limitations” is absolutely rich given that the clock doesn’t even begin to tick on the statute of limitations if a potential defendant buries the evidence of wrongdoing like the Mets are accused of doing. Given that Alderson is himself an attorney, one presumes he knows that.
With those words -- which, again, came after pages and pages of new details of a toxic, harassment-filled Mets workplace -- Alderson has basically told every employee that his first priority as the Mets president is the well-being of harassers, not their victims. That the real problem here is the media coverage of their conduct, not the conduct itself.
It’s a response that shows him to utterly fail to grasp the gravity of the situation. It’s a response that shows him to be utterly unfit to run a business in the 21st century.