Women in baseball panel: Porter story ‘bothered me deeply’ originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The isolation the foreign correspondent experienced as she endured Jared Porter’s harassment, the fear she must have felt, the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in the sports industry.
These realities stood out to a panel of women in sports journalism, organized by NBC Sports Chicago, when they read last week’s ESPN report. The story revealed Porter had sent explicit text messages and lewd images to a woman covering the Cubs in 2016, when he was the director of professional scouting.
This week, the Cubs Talk Podcast hosted a round table discussion between pioneering baseball writer Claire Smith, WBEZ’s Cheryl Raye-Stout, ABC 7 Chicago’s Dionne Miller and Fox 10 Phoenix’s Siera Santos.
“I wondered, was she the only one?” Miller said. “Did it happen to other women who are afraid to come forward?”
Miller and Raye-Stout, longtime Chicago sports reporters, were also around the Cubs that season.
“It bothered be deeply,” Raye-Stout said when asked about her initial reaction. “… It’s the vetting process that these teams are not doing correctly, and that has to change.”
Said Santos: “I wasn’t shocked at all because I have a laundry list of similar types of stories – maybe not to that explicit nature, or maybe not with somebody in a position so high up. But I wasn’t surprised at all, and that’s the sad thing.”
The foreign correspondent agreed to go public with her story – ESPN granted her anonymity because she feared backlash in her home country – only after leaving the industry. As Porter rose through the baseball ranks, she feared that what he did to her, he could do to someone else.
After the ESPN story came out, the Mets fired Porter, about a month after they had hired him as general manager. Major League Baseball and the Cubs have promised investigations.
“I think that baseball investigations – MLB or club investigations – aren’t worth the paper they print and send out to us,” Smith said. “… This should be in the hands of law enforcement. Nothing’s going to happen to that man other than he’ll sneak into another industry and carry on, on his merry way. He is a predator.”
For more discussion on Porter, the panel’s own experiences, and where the industry needs to go from here, listen to the latest episode of the Cubs Talk Podcast:
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