NEW YORK – Jared Porter went from rising star to unemployed – literally overnight.
Just more than a month after joining the New York Mets as general manager, Porter was fired Tuesday for sending sexually explicit, uninvited text messages and images to a female reporter in 2016 when he was working for the Chicago Cubs in their front office.
ESPN reported late Monday that Porter sent dozens of unanswered texts to the woman. ESPN said it obtained a copy of the text history, and many of the messages and photos he sent were displayed in the report online.
About nine hours later, new Mets owner Steve Cohen posted on Twitter that Porter had been fired.
“We have terminated Jared Porter this morning,” Cohen wrote Tuesday. “In my initial press conference I spoke about the importance of integrity and I meant it. There should be zero tolerance for this type of behavior.”
Approximately 30 minutes after that, the Mets released a statement from team president Sandy Alderson saying the move was effective immediately.
“Jared's actions, as reflected by events disclosed last night, failed to meet the Mets' standards for professionalism and personal conduct,” Alderson said.
New York hired the 41-year-old Porter last month. He agreed to a four-year contract after spending the past four seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks as senior vice president and assistant general manager.
It was not immediately clear if the Mets planned to replace Porter with a new GM. Porter reported to Alderson, who is running baseball operations.
The woman was not identified in the report. ESPN said she recently chose to come forward only on condition of anonymity because she is afraid of backlash in her home country.
In a statement Monday night addressing the report, Alderson said the Mets would “follow up” as they reviewed “the facts regarding this serious issue.”
“I have spoken directly with Jared Porter regarding events that took place in 2016 of which we were made aware tonight for the first time. Jared has acknowledged to me his serious error in judgment, has taken responsibility for his conduct, has expressed remorse, and has previously apologized for his actions,” Alderson said in that statement.
“The Mets take these matters seriously, expect professional and ethical behavior from all of our employees, and certainly do not condone the conduct described in (the ESPN) story.”
ESPN said the woman was a foreign correspondent who had moved to the United States to cover Major League Baseball. She met Porter in a Yankee Stadium elevator in June 2016, and she said they spoke briefly about international baseball and exchanged business cards. She told ESPN that was the only time they ever spoke.
After text exchanges that began casually, Porter started complimenting her looks, inviting her to meet him in different cities and asking why she was ignoring him, ESPN said.
After he sent her a lewd picture, the woman ignored more than 60 messages from Porter before he sent a vulgar photo, according to ESPN. The woman told ESPN she intentionally tried to avoid him at a couple of big league ballparks and the texts from Porter ultimately contributed to her decision to leave journalism and return to her home country.
Porter texted apologies to the woman in 2016 after she saw the vulgar picture and wrote to him that his messages were “extremely inappropriate, very offensive, and getting out of line,” ESPN reported.
ESPN said it contacted Porter on Monday evening, and he acknowledged texting with the woman. At first, he said he hadn't sent any pictures of himself, but when informed the exchanges show that he sent selfies and other pictures, he said “the more explicit ones are not of me. Those are like, kinda like joke-stock images,” ESPN reported.
After asking whether the outlet intended to run a story, Porter requested more time before later declining further comment, ESPN said.