Jared Porter cost somebody their livelihood.
It is only fair, then, that he now lose his.
A startling and sickening ESPN report Monday night detailed Porter’s extended harassment of a reporter over the course of two months in 2016, including a string of 62 unanswered text messages culminating in a photo of a penis.
The sequence occurred when Porter was director of pro scouting for the Chicago Cubs, and Porter has since climbed two more rungs on baseball’s executive ladder, beating out a strong field last month to earn the New York Mets’ general manager job.
With new owner Steve Cohen sitting on $14 billion of wealth, and club president Sandy Alderson offering room to maneuver and the wisdom of decades in the game, it was the best available gig in baseball.
And if the Mets have any sense of propriety, it will no longer be Porter’s by the time you have a chance to read this.
This goes beyond any self-respecting Mets fan being unable to support the club with Porter as its public-facing baseball operations leader, though that’s not to be discounted.
This is about repudiating predatory behavior, about a grown man approaching 40 preying on a foreign journalist for which English was a second language, who after an initial meeting met his aggressive overtures with silence.
The woman, ESPN reported, eventually left journalism and returned to her home country, an American dream shattered by the scourge of toxic masculinity and privilege.
It was only after she left journalism, in large part due to Porter’s actions, that she felt comfortable going public. The barrage of texts obtained by ESPN are the stuff of nightmares, rapidly escalating from a rejected man who can’t take a hint to an aggressive and incessant blitz, at one point prompting the woman to hide lest she run into Porter when both were at Wrigley Field one day.
Three months later, the Cubs won the World Series and Porter climbed higher, taking an assistant GM job with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Porter, 41, has moved methodically and easily through the industry, a testament to his baseball acumen and, as many of his former co-workers attested, a thoughtful, collaborative and inclusive approach to his job. “A compassion for people,” said one of his former colleagues.
The text thread suggests another dimension the baseball industry was either unaware of or glossed over.
Now, his mere presence will be triggering to women who work within or cover the industry or consider themselves a fan. That alone is disqualifying.
Whether or not this was a one-off incident, Porter faces a personal reckoning. Hopefully, he can get whatever help he may need.
But few will have the stomach for a redemption tour. And in an industry that last November saw the first woman join the GM ranks and sees increasing numbers of women in coaching, scouting and front-office capacities, it is incumbent on the industry to ensure they feel safe to do their jobs.
That, more than anything, is why Porter must go. It is unfortunate for him that he may permanently lose his life’s passion.
It is also a relatively small price to pay for the trauma he inflicted.
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