The F.P. Santangelo saga

F.P. Santangelo is a former major league baseball player who does the color commentary on television broadcasts of Washington Nationals games. He’s not my cup of tea, but no one can question his knowledge of, and passion for, the game.

He’s also very popular with the fan base, including women, as far as I can tell. During the Nats’ championship season, several women who had been casual fans, told me that Santangelo’s commentary helped them learn the finer points of baseball.

Earlier this season, Santangelo was accused of sexually harassing a women. The woman accused him of making unwanted advances, ignoring her when she repeatedly told him to stop, and then sexually assaulting her. He denied these allegations.

Santangelo’s employer, the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), asked Major League Baseball to investigate the allegations. MLB has the expertise to handle such an investigation, so this seems like the right course to have taken.

The question was whether Santangelo would be permitted to keep working while the investigation occurred, a process that was always likely to be drawn out and, as it turned out, took about two and a half months to complete. The answer? He was not permitted to do so.

It appears that this decision wasn’t MASN’s. Rather, the baseball team was responsible because it withdrew approval to have Santangelo broadcast its games. According to the Washington Post, the club went so far as to turn him away from the stadium in early May.

MASN was unhappy with the way the Nats handled the situation. Its spokesman stated:

MASN takes any such allegation seriously, which is why we immediately notified MLB. Especially when dealing with anonymous and uncorroborated allegations, due process to protect the privacy of all involved is critical. That’s why it was so surprising that the Nationals would be so public in their accusations, even as MLB continues its investigation.

Why did the Nats treat Santangelo, who has served the club loyally (he’s an incorrigible “homer”) and effectively for a decade, so shabbily? Perhaps because the club is “woke.” Perhaps to appease the team’s left-wing fan base. Probably for both reasons, with an emphasis on the latter.

Now, MLB has finally completed its investigation. It found insufficient evidence to support the claims against Santangelo. On Friday, an MLB spokesperson said:

The Commissioner’s Office and MASN have reviewed the anonymous claim made against F.P. Santangelo. MLB and MASN have found no evidence that Mr. Santangelo violated the terms of his contractor agreement, league, or network regulations, nor is there more evidence currently available to us to collect. Accordingly, Mr. Santangelo’s credentials have been restored and he resumed performing his duties tonight.

It will be interesting to see how the fan base, especially the female portion of it, views Santangelo from now on. My guess is that he’s permanently lost the affection of many Nats fans.

If so, that’s unfortunate. So too is the fact that for more than two and half months, Santangelo was left hanging and without work — and fans were deprived of enjoying his commentary — based on anonymous and uncorroborated allegations of sexual misconduct and assault.

But that’s life these days. If anything, Santangelo can perhaps consider himself lucky that, in this age of “I believe her,” he didn’t lose his job.

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