The wave of firings of men accused of mistreating women in the workplace reached the sports world Thursday when Blue Jays analyst Gregg Zaun was let go. The 46-year-old former catcher was said by his former employer, Rogers Sportsnet, to have engaged in “inappropriate” behavior toward female colleagues.
“This week, we received complaints from multiple female employees at Sportsnet regarding inappropriate behaviour by Gregg Zaun in the workplace,” Rick Brace, the president of Rogers Media, said in a statement. “After investigating the matter, we decided to terminate his contract, effective immediately. This type of behavior completely contradicts our standards and our core values. We believe in a professional workplace where all employees feel comfortable and respected. We are grateful to our employees who spoke with us, and we will take every measure to protect their privacy.”
Brace did not detail any specific incidents involving Zaun, but a Sportsnet report claimed they did not include “sexual or physical assault.” Zaun was not immediately available for comment.
Zaun began working as a Sportsnet analyst in 2011, following a 16-year MLB career that began with the Orioles and included stints with the Marlins, Rangers, Royals, Astros, Rockies, Blue Jays, Rays and Brewers. The right-handed catcher helped the Marlins win the 1997 World Series but spent more time in Toronto than at any other stop.
A popular figure among Blue Jays fans, Zaun has in turn embraced Canada, living in the country full-time and pursuing dual citizenship. His penchant for flashy outfits has earned him comparisons to “Hockey Night in Canada” analyst Don Cherry.
“Many have been asking when the #MeToo movement would hit sports,” ESPN’s Sarah Spain said of Zaun’s firing on Twitter on Thursday. “The first domino has fallen.”
The #MeToo hashtag to which Spain referred has been used recently by women to share stories of sexual harassment and assault, or to show sympathy for women who have done so. Sparked by accusations toward disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein of abusive behavior to women over a period of decades, the hashtag was used by Olympic gymnasts McKayla Maroney and Tatiana Gutsu, among others who told of their own deeply painful episodes.
On Wednesday, NBC fired “Today” host Matt Lauer, and Minnesota Public Radio did the same with Garrison Keillor of “A Prairie Home Companion” fame, in both cases for inappropriate acts toward female co-workers. “To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry,” Lauer said in a statement. ” … Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed.”
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