Back in November, MLB president of business and media (and former MLBAM CEO) Bob Bowman announced that he would be leaving MLB when his contract expired in December. There weren’t many details about why Bowman was moving on at the time, and many of the reflections of Bowman’s tenure as MLBAM boss were positive (including at this very website).
On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal released an explosive article about Bowman’s departure from MLB, stating that he was essentially pushed out the door by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred after numerous alleged incidents of workplace misconduct.
The article isn’t paywalled for now (but likely will be), and it’s worth reading in full. Some of the alleged “highlights” of Bowman’s behind the scenes tenure at MLBAM include…
- Verbally abusing a coworker in October
- Shoving a member of the Red Sox ownership group during the week of the All-Star Game in July (Frank Huckabone, the chief revenue officer of Fenway Sports Group)
- Hiring women for an MLBAM party during the 2016 All-Star Game that many believed were escorts
There is also this blurb about the culture at MLBAM under Bowman.
People familiar with Bowman say he engaged in a pattern of behavior that included propositioning female colleagues, allegedly conducting consensual relationships with subordinate coworkers and cultivating a culture of partying and heavy drinking with employees outside the office.
Bowman released a statement to the WSJ, seemingly confirming many of the details in the story and also apologizing.
The culture that started at BAM was hard working and driven. At times, it was also inappropriate and I take full responsibility.
This inappropriate behavior reflects my personal flaws and not someone else’s. This behavior and my personal behavior were wrong. To those who felt the sting of my behavior, I am truly sorry. To my family, friends and business colleagues who have been steadfastly supportive of me, and whom I have embarrassed, I apologize. And finally, to the outstanding professionals at MLB.com, my colleagues since 2000, my behavior should in no way diminish your unmatched ability, your phenomenal track record, and your record setting list of achievements as an organization.
Manfred also confirmed that the October verbal abuse incident was what finally forced him to act.
“I would say that (the October) incident was the culmination of a variety of issues that had gone on over a period of time, and it precipitated a conversation in which Bob and I agreed that the best thing for him to do was to leave,” Manfred said in an interview.
It’s kind of amazing that it took MLB more than a year after the “escort party” in San Diego to make a move on Bowman. I have a feeling that in the coming weeks and months, Bowman won’t be the only executive from a major sports league that gets forced out after allegations of serial misconduct.