Sportsnet reported Thursday that Blue Jays analyst Gregg Zaun was fired by Rogers Communications, Inc. after the company conducted an investigation into allegations by several women of “inappropriate behaviour and comments” by the host. The statement by the company did not provide specifics for the allegations, but did relay that no physical or sexual assault by Zaun was reported.
In a statement, Rogers Media president Rick Brace said “we decided to terminate his contract, effective immediately. This type of behaviour completely contradicts our standards and our core values. We believe in a professional workplace where all employees feel comfortable and respected.” He added that they would protect the privacy of the women who came forward.
Brace made the following public statement: pic.twitter.com/cBUcsvzpj3
— Andrew Pinsent (@957Pinsent) December 1, 2017
Zaun was a catcher in the major leagues for 16 years and spent five years from 2004 to 2008 with the Blue Jays. After his retirement in 2011, he began his career in broadcasting as an on-air analyst for Blue Jays Central on which he appeared with host Jamie Campbell. The fancy suit man was well known by Jays fans for being the “Don Cherry of baseball.” He was also known for his insistence that baseball players are becoming “soft” and was very much of the “suck it up and play” mentality. A few Twitter users noted that considering Zaun’s brand of “toxic masculinity,” the conditions of his firing don’t come as a total surprise.
Real talk: Gregg Zaun unapologetically peddled the worst kind of toxic masculinity, harmful to both men and women, for years with Sportsnet’s logo sitting right there on screen. They don’t skate for waiting this long to dump him.
— Eephus Pitch (@eephusasher) December 1, 2017
In 2007, Zaun was named in the Mitchell Report which was a large-scale investigation into the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) by baseball players. Although evidence was uncovered that indicated he had purchased PEDs, Zaun claimed that it had been tampered with and denied the charges.
Zaun is the first high-profile firing in the professional sports world for “inappropriate behaviour” during this current sexual misconduct reckoning. Sports is a world where men are given even more of a pass for inappropriate behaviour than they are in other environments. They’re “just being men.” Even Donald Trump used “locker room talk” as an excuse for his admission of sexual assault in the Access Hollywood tape revealed during his presidential campaign. And his supporters gave him a pass for it! This is likely just the beginning of the sports accusations.