Kudos to Steve Cohen for his swift and firm action in firing his GM, Jared Porter. Too bad ESPN didn’t act accordingly…
Mets owner Steve Cohen wasted no time upon hearing of the reports that his GM Jared Porter had sent explicit, unsolicited texts and images to a female reporter in 2016, culminating with a picture of an erect, naked penis, according to a copy of the text history obtained by ESPN.
In a statement issued early this morning, Steve Cohen stated, “In my initial press conference, I spoke about the importance of integrity, and I meant it,” Cohen tweeted. “There should be zero tolerance for this type of behavior.”
Cohen’s action occurred less than twelve hours after learning the development based on ESPN reporting and was preceded by a conversation Monday night between Porter and Mets Chief of Baseball Operations, Sandy Alderson.
Reportedly, Porter issued numerous mea culpa’s, citing poor judgment in that talk with Anderson, but it was clear this one was headed upstairs and to the top
Mets Et. Al. – Trial By Jury Does Not Exist
There is no trial by jury in baseball, especially for those in management or executive positions. Mets fans recall the events surrounding the hiring and firing of Carlos Beltran for his ties to the sign-stealing shenanigans of his former team, the Houston Astros.
In that case, the Mets, who were still under Brodie VanWagenen and the Wilpon family’s auspices, hemmed and hawed until the escape hatch was closed, and their hand was forced.
Steve Cohen Steps Up As ESPN Lies In Wait
This one is different, though, because there is a victim, and I believe Steve Cohen recognized it as so.
Here, we have a woman, who apparently lived with the trauma – for years – until she could no longer take it, ultimately giving ESPN the go-ahead to write the story.
My story is not to recount the morbid details of Porter’s behavior towards this woman, who has wisely chosen not to be identified.
The “smoking guns” are in the exhaustive account provided by ESPN and referred to beforehand.
Instead, my focus is on the journalistic and reporting responsibilities of the media, in this case, ESPN, for their actions between 2017 and Monday when they broke the story.
More specifically, what is the boundaries when a reporter or media outlet becomes aware of an incident or event that merits public attention when a person is in harm’s way?
ESPN And The Legacy Behind The Story
Ironically, ESPN had this story in December 2017. According to their own reporting, “ESPN reached out to the woman, interviewed her, and was prepared to report about the allegations but did not do so after the woman concluded her career would be harmed if the story emerged.”
ESPN’s judgment aside about that, the fact is the onslaught by Porter continued. The woman says she feared losing her job and did the best she could to fend off the ongoing hell, let’s call it what it is – stalking via numerous and repetitive texts seeking to arrange a “meet.”
I’m torn about this one because I have to ask myself (or you) – what if this woman was my sister – and I knew she was being violated in the ways we all know now. And she told me – “No, Steve, don’t contact the authorities.” What is the “right” thing to do?
ESPN And The Cubs On Trial
I get some of it. News outlets and reporters have jumped the gun before and been burnt because the story didn’t pan out, or because an influential party stepped in to, for instance, pay off Stormy Daniels for conduct unbecoming the President of the United States.
For instance, I wonder about the Chicago Cubs, Jared Porter’s employer, when it all went down. What did they know, and when did they know it?
For what it’s worth, their statement Monday night – “This story came to our attention tonight, and we are not aware of this incident ever being reported to the organization.”
“Had we been notified, we would have taken swift action as the alleged behavior violates our code of conduct,”
Okay fine. Maybe, maybe not, and what would the Cubs have to gain by hiding this embarrassment to their organization??? Duh…
Does ESPN Deserve Benefit Of The Doubt
Timing is everything in the media business. I’ll publish this story this afternoon knowing full well our nation’s eyes are turned as they should be to tomorrow’s events in Washington, D.C., and readership will be down, versus what we hope and pray will be a slow news day on Thursday.
Someone will ferret out the woman in question, paying her every penny she deserves to tell her story on 60 Minutes, the Hannity Report, and God knows, anywhere else she wants to.
But we’ll know there’s a rat in the soup if ESPN winds up with that “exclusive” interview when the real exclusive passed them by (complicity) many moons ago.
For now, though, Steve Cohen did the “right” thing while ESPN takes the credit for “breaking a story” that should have – could have – outed a predator within baseball long before the Mets became aware of his upon his eerie past.
Ditto the Cubs, who still have questions remaining to be answered as to how and why a person like Porter could have remained undercover for so long, and why even now, they can cling to the “we didn’t know defense” when the episode was beneath their eyes, if only they were open.
Steve Cohen: Man Of The Future, Not The Past
For the Mets, their organization’s thrust must be to move forward in the search for someone who can be a complement to Sandy Alderson.
No matter what anyone says, Alderson is the man in charge regarding baseball decisions, whether or not Porter was here or not.
ESPN by the wayside, and that being said, the Mets received a wake-up call in the sense they hopefully can be more diligent in their vetting of prospective employees in their front office and executive positions in the future.
The way it goes is if you don’t ask, don’t tell. Based on all we know, Jared Porter was never asked by the Mets – “By the way, is there anything in your past we should know about?”
These are slips along the way, as with trades made every day, which come to find out so and so can barely swing a bat from the right side…
But for all of ESPN’s avoidance of the truth up to Monday, Mets fans should rejoice that Steve Cohen took the ball and ran with it, regardless of the embarrassment to the franchise and the nearness of the 2021 season…
To say a rarity these days, let’s stop this now! – and get on with the real business of our day.