SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The San Francisco Giants introduced new manager Gabe Kapler Wednesday, but some were questioning his past handling of sexual assault allegations when he was working for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The main topic of conversation at Gabe Kapler’s introductory news conference as the new San Francisco Giants manager wasn’t about balls and strikes, but his handling of sexual assault allegations while with the Dodgers where he was then working with new Giants President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi.
The Washington Post reported in February that Kapler did not alert police of an alleged assault in 2015 during which Dodgers players were present. The newspaper said Kapler received an email from a 17-year-old girl saying she had been assaulted by two women during a night of partying with two Los Angeles minor leaguers.
The girl later told police she was also sexually assaulted by one of the players. Kapler tried to arrange a dinner with the girl and the two players, and engaged in discussions with the girl’s grandmother, but he never alerted authorities.
Kapler told the newspaper his actions were in line with club policy and advice offered by Dodgers lawyers and human resources personnel. He also said he was not aware of a sexual assault allegation.
“It was interesting that they both sort of held hands and jumped off the cliff together,” said Ray Ratto – a longtime Bay Area sportswriter now with 95.7 The Game.
Ratto said if the Giants can win a World Series in a year or two, the controversy will be largely forgotten.
“The fact that Philadelphia fired him and he got hired here a month later, even including the baggage makes this an interesting hire and an interesting development for a franchise that frankly has had issues with violence with women before,” said Ratto.
Giants CEO Larry Baer was suspended without pay by Major League Baseball on March 26 after a video showed him in a physical altercation with his wife on March 1. He returned to work July 1. Baer, who apologized publicly and to his wife, took a leave of absence after TMZ published the video.
Gabe Kapler addressed the issue head on multiple times.
“These are problems in MLB clubhouses…I certainly haven’t done enough. The industry hasn’t done enough. It takes people willing to have those first conversations with players about what’s important to us and what we’re going to stand for in our clubhouse,” Kapler said.
Michael Goldman, an associate professor of sports management at the University of San Francisco said research indicates — despite the social media outcry Tuesday night — the Giants bottom line is likely to be unhurt.
“The noise around some of these issues, the conversation of the ‘twitterati’ that are going to explode around some of these issues, I don’t see that having a massive impact on ticket sales, season tickets or any of the commercial side of the business,” Goldman he told KPIX 5.
Ratto said the question is now how the news conference was handled today.
“It’s what they do about it. It’s what happens when one of their guys gets involved in something like this. What sort of structure will they have created so they don’t make the same mistakes that they both admit that they made in Los Angeles,” said Ratto.
For their part, both Kapler and Zaidi said there was no cover-up on their part in the allegations during their time with the Dodgers.
© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.