Washington Nationals color commenator F.P. Santangelo has been absent from several recent Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) broadcasts, including Saturday’s game against the New York Yankees. After being absent from MASN broadcasts during last weekend’s series vs the Miami Marlins, Santangelo returned to the booth for games vs the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday and Wednesday, but was removed from Thursday’s MLB Network/YouTube broadcast shortly before the game. The Washington Post reported that Santangelo, a MASN spokesman, and a Nationals spokeswoman all declined to comment on his absence earlier this week.
Well, Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic reports on Saturday that the Nationals and MASN ” have been made aware of a sexual misconduct allegation” against Santangelo.
A 31-year-old woman told The Athletic that Santangelo “made an unwanted advance several years ago, ignored her when she repeatedly told him to stop, and sexually assaulted her.”
The Athletic reports that the woman anonymously posted allegations against Santangelo on Instagram that “caught the attention of the team and the network,” and that led to his absence from Nats broadcasts.
The 31-year-old woman who made the allegation, speaking to The Athletic on the condition of anonymity, said Santangelo made an unwanted advance several years ago, ignored her when she repeatedly told him to stop, and sexually assaulted her. She detailed her experience to The Athletic after submitting an anonymous Instagram post that caught the attention of the team and the network. Multiple people close to the situation confirmed MASN is aware of the Instagram posts and the allegations contained in those posts; those sources also confirmed that the allegations are the reason the 53-year-old Santangelo has not been on the air.
The woman told The Athletic that Santangelo sent her “angry text messages and blocked her on social media after their one and only in-person interaction. Addiionally, she said, “I don’t have any motives behind this other than I wanted to avoid this happening to other women.”
The woman who detailed her experience with Santangelo is not an employee of MASN, the Orioles or the Nationals. She told The Athletic she thought about emailing MASN after it happened but did not want to have to re-live the experience and was worried her claim would not be taken seriously. She has no desire to issue a formal complaint and is not seeking any compensation.
“If I never saw him again, I’d be perfectly happy,” said the woman, who also alleges that Santangelo sent her angry text messages and blocked her on social media after their one and only in-person interaction. “But he’s well known and it is bothersome to see someone in his private life not be respectful of people. I don’t have any motives behind this other than I wanted to avoid this happening to other women.”
Santangelo texted a statement to The Athletic after Saturday’s article published, denying the allegations.
“What I have read in your recently published article from an anonymous individual about me is untrue and did not happen. This is not representative of who I am as a man or a professional. I am confident that my name and reputation will be fully cleared.”
So, if MASN and the Nationals were aware of these allegations, and kept him off the air for last weekend’s series (and Saturday’s game), why was he back in the booth for the broadcasts on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday?
The Nationals have released a statement on Saturday that basically puts everything on MASN for the decision to allow Santangelo to broadcasts those games.
“Late last week, we were made aware of allegations of conduct by F.P. Santangelo that are inconsistent with our values as an organization. We alerted MASN and revoked our approval of him as a member of our broadcast team. MASN assured us that they would investigate these allegations thoroughly. After MASN notified us that their investigation was complete and that F.P. should be reinstated, additional posts appeared. Once again, we notified MASN and revoked our approval of F.P. as a member of our broadcast team indefinitely. Moving forward, we will refer all questions regarding this investigation to F.P.’s employer, MASN.”
Santangelo, 53, has been the MASN color commentator for Nationals games since 2011. He became a broadcaster after being an outfielder over seven MLB seasons with the Montreal Expos (1995-98), San Francisco Giants (1999), Los Angeles Dodgers (2000), and Oakland Athletics (2001).