When Bob Bowman and MLB Advanced Media parted ways, it was presented as an amicable departure. Now, a report indicates Bowman was asked to leave by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred after years of troubling workplace behavior.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting how Manfred made the decision to dismiss Bowman after his inappropriate behavior was reported. Many of the instances came before Manfred’s tenure and were heard and basically ignored by Bud Selig and Bob DuPuy, but some came under the Manfred regime. Since its inception, BAM has been run separately from MLB, a situation that created a bro culture within BAM. And while it’s been hailed as a success for the sport, the bro culture at BAM ended up derailing Bowman, a parting that was confirmed by Bowman in a statement. From the WSJ:
Bowman’s departure was the end result of a yearslong divide between baseball’s staid Park Avenue headquarters and the younger, looser MLB Advanced Media office two miles away that Bowman ran like a fiefdom.
“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.
Bowman’s departure capped a tenure riddled with concerns about his workplace conduct.
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 takes responsibility for the culture in a statement to the WSJ:
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.
In general, professional baseball has an issue with a bro culture, as front offices aren’t always the most welcoming spaces for women and minorities. We’ve seen effort to combat the bro culture in both Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball, but it’s hard to counteract this kind of culture when the folks at the top are the ones setting the tone. The WSJ has the painful details, which also includes escorts at a party thrown by BAM as part of the 2016 All-Star Game in San Diego.
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