PHOENIX – News that New York Mets general manager and former Arizona Diamondbacks executive Jared Porter sent sexually explicit texts to a female reporter drew widespread criticism, including some from one of sports journalism’s female trailblazers.
“I’m saddened that we’re still having these conversations,” said Valley resident Anne Montgomery, who was one of ESPN’s first female anchors for SportsCenter and is now an author. “But I’m not surprised.”
The Mets announced Tuesday the dismissal of newly hired Porter following an ESPN report that he harassed and sent inappropriate photos to a female reporter when he worked for the Chicago Cubs in 2016.
Porter left the Cubs after that season to work under current Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen. The two had worked together while members of the Boston Red Sox front office. Porter stayed for four years in Arizona before he was hired by the Mets on Dec. 13.
“We do not condone this behavior and are extremely troubled by the details that have been reported,” the Diamondbacks said in a statement Tuesday. “We were obviously not aware of these allegations from 2016 and had we been, we would have investigated and addressed the situation immediately.’’
The story by ESPN’s Jeff Passan and Mina Kimes detailed a two-month long pursuit of the woman by Porter via text. After meeting in an elevator at Yankee Stadium in June of 2016, the then-Cubs Director of Professional Scouting began texting the woman, asking her out for drinks and sending her selfies. The texts from Porter became more sexual over the next few days. Porter sent more than 60 unanswered texts, including lewd pictures of a man wearing pants with a bulge in his groin, the report said.
The woman, who had moved to the United States to take the job covering baseball as a foreign correspondent, said multiple times in the ESPN piece that the cultural differences between the U.S. and her home country confused her about Porter’s intentions. ESPN protected her anonymity.
“If I had a better understanding – not just of the language, but the culture – I definitely would’ve realized sooner what was going on,” she said in the article.
Mets team president Sandy Alderson said in a statement Tuesday that “Jared’s actions, as reflected by events disclosed last night, failed to meet the Mets’ standards for professionalism and personal conduct,”
Montgomery, who worked for KTSP for two years and ASPN in Phoenix before moving to ESPN and dealt with harassment at both stops, said she believes that Porter’s actions shouldn’t be coming from a man his age.
“The thing that did surprise me was that this man is 41 years old,” she said. “He’s grown up in a time where he should know better. That’s shocking to me.”
Her fear is that women are scared of losing jobs and opportunities if they speak out, which is why Porter’s victim said she remained silent for years. Montgomery said that likely would have been her fate had she done so during her career.
“I came home and complained about it but never said anything about it,” she said. “Like the woman in the story, I didn’t want to lose my career. That’s what would happen. I probably would have been fired.
“I understand why she didn’t say it. It’s her job at stake.”