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Mets owner Steve Cohen responds to another report of poor workplace environment at club

Mets owner Steve Cohen (left) and general manager

Mets owner Steve Cohen (left) and general manager Sandy Alderson chat during a spring training workout Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, in Port St. Lucie, FL. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

DENVER — After another report about the Mets’ toxic workplace environment, owner Steve Cohen said he will consider further change but for now is in wait-and-see mode while the law firm he hired conducts "a review of the organization’s culture."

That law firm is WilmerHale, which Cohen used in 2018 to investigate his hedge fund, Point72 Asset Management, after a female employee filed a lawsuit accusing Cohen and his company of gender bias and pay discrimination.

"[WilmerHale] will provide me with a report of what they find," Cohen said in a statement Friday. "I will listen carefully and then take any steps I believe are appropriate based on the findings."

That was the entirety of the Mets’ public response to a report Friday morning from The Athletic, which detailed more examples of inappropriate behavior by team employees and the Mets’ questionable handling of the internal complaints.

 

Team president Sandy Alderson took issue with that reporting, asking The Athletic, "Is there ever a statute of limitations on coverage of some of this stuff?"

He also told The Athletic: "Let me try to make a point as strongly as I can, OK? Not every instance involving men, women and the workplace is a capital offense, OK? Every time something happens, it doesn’t mean somebody has to be fired."

Among the themes of The Athletic’s story: More than a dozen current and former employees said the Mets’ human resources department — headed by Holly Lindvall, the Mets’ senior vice president of human resources and diversity — prioritized pleasing previous ownership, including then-chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, instead of actually fixing the problems.

"It was clear that [Lindvall’s] interest was protecting ownership and executives and not the office as a whole," one former employee told The Athletic. "You could not go to HR to feel protected, comfortable, anything."

Alleged misbehavior has been one of the biggest stories of Cohen’s six months of ownership, though the instances that have become public occurred under the previous regime.

In addition to former general manager Jared Porter (fired for sending explicit texts to a female reporter) and former manager Mickey Callaway (suspended by the Angels since early February while MLB investigates his reported inappropriate behavior toward women), there have been lower-level, less-public examples of such problems. The report from The Athletic offered two new ones.

David Newman, the Mets’ chief marketing, content and communications officer, reportedly made inappropriate comments to female employees during his first stint with the team (2005-18). Alderson — informed of examples of these comments and Newman’s reputation, according to The Athletic — brought Newman back in November.

Joe DeVito, a marketing staffer, left the organization in March after two women spoke to team lawyers about incidents they believed were sexual harassment, The Athletic reported.

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