PHOENIX — Hello disgrace, shame and national embarrassment, it’s the New York Mets again.
Just a month after being lauded for the hiring of general manager Jared Porter as the latest step in the re-making of the Mets, along came Monday evening.
And the inevitable on Tuesday morning.
Porter was fired.
Porter admitted to sending lewd and uninvited text messages and images to a female reporter in 2016, which was reported Monday evening by ESPN, and at 8:03 a.m. ET Tuesday, new Mets owner Steve Cohen announced on his Twitter account that Porter was dismissed.
“We have terminated Jared Porter this morning,’’ Cohen wrote on Twitter. “In my initial press conference, I spoke about the importance of integrity and I meant it. There should be zero tolerance for this type of behavior."
And just like that, 37 days after being hired, Porter was fired.
Mets president Sandy Alderson said in his statement that Porter “failed to meet the Mets’ standards for professional and personal conduct.’’
Really, Porter annihilated the human standards for conduct in any business.
Porter, 41, likely has worked his last day in baseball, destroying his reputation and all credibility, while forfeiting his four-year contract that likely was paying him at least $4 million.
Everything is gone, and what we all thought we knew about Porter, it turns out we knew nothing at all about the man.
Jared Porter worked with the Diamondbacks before he was hired by the Mets. (Photo: Rob Schumacher, The Republic)
The Chicago Cubs, Porter’s employer at the time, insists it was unaware of Porter’s actions until Monday, releasing a statement:
“Had we been notified, we would have taken swift action as the alleged abhorrent behavior is in violation of our code of conduct …. We take issues of sexual harassment seriously and plan to investigate the matter.’’
The Arizona Diamondbacks, who hired Porter in 2017 as a senior vice president and assistant GM and was their employee until leaving for the Mets, also issued a statement citing no knowledge of Porter’s actions.
“We do not condone this behavior and are extremely troubled by the details that have been reported. We were obviously not aware of these allegations from 2016 and had we been, we would have investigated and addressed the situation immediately.’’
The Mets’ investigation was brief.
They had the evidence from the ESPN story, confronted Porter, who admitted to the lewd behavior, and fired him less than 12 hours later.
This is the second consecutive off-season that the Mets hired a key employee and fired him before a single game.
A year ago, it was Carlos Beltran who was hired as manager, and fired two months later when it was uncovered that he was an integral part of the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing, cheating scandal. Beltran pleaded to keep his job but the Mets insisted the organization’s integrity was at stake.
This time, there was zero debate.
The Mets and Major League Baseball officials knew instantly as long as the uninvited text messages came from Porter, he would be fired.
And likely never heard from again in baseball.
This is a sport that widely celebrated the hiring of Kim Ng in December, the first woman to become general manager of the four major North American sports teams with the Miami Marlins.
To permit Porter to work, no matter how severe the punishment, would have destroyed the integrity of the entire industry.
“Jared has acknowledged to me his serious error in judgment,’’ Alderson said in a statement Monday night, “has taken responsibility for his conduct, has expressed remorse, and has previously apologized for his actions.’’
Simply saying you’re sorry is fine if you’re talking about missing a sign from your third-base coach during a baseball game.
Saying you’re sorry might be ok if you overslept and were late for a team meeting.
Saying you’re sorry is infuriating and disgusting for having a woman live in fear, causing her to give up her journalism career covering Major League Baseball.
This woman got more than 60 text messages from Porter in 2016, including a naked picture, and wrote back to him saying his messages were “extremely inappropriate, very offensive, and getting out of line.’’
Sorry was the response.
Even worse is that ESPN reported that it was a Cubs employee from her home country who was notified of the harassment, and that the employee told her that Porter wanted to apologize in person. She said the Cubs employee repeatedly asked her whether she planned to file a lawsuit against Porter. The employee confirmed he knew about it in an interview Monday with ESPN.
There likely will be follow-up investigations within all of Porter’s previous organizations asking if anyone knew or ever saw signs of this abhorrent behavior, with several of his closest baseball friends in disbelief.
Remember what Porter said during his introductory press conference with the Mets:
“I think what we’ve talked about the most is just a cultural shift, for one. Adding good people to the organization. Improving on the organizational culture.”
Comical, only if it wasn’t so tragic.
Just when you think baseball has come a long way with the hiring OF a female GM, coaches, scouts and trainers, along comes this horrifying news to remind you it still has so far to go.
Follow Nightengale on Twitter: @Bnightengale
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