Former Blue Jays catcher Gregg Zaun fired from Sportsnet over ‘inappropriate behaviour’
Several women at Sportsnet came forward with allegations of inappropriate behaviour by Zaun, Rogers Media said.
|Report an Error|
Share via Email
Former Blue Jay and Sportsnet commentator Gregg Zaun has been fired by the broadcaster after several female employees came forward with allegations of inappropriate behaviour.
Rick Brace, president of Rogers Media, which owns Sportsnet, said in a statement emailed to the Star on Thursday night that an unspecified number of women at Sportsnet complained about Zaun to management.
“After investigating the matter, we decided to terminate his contract, effective immediately,” Brace said in the statement.
“This type of behaviour completely contradicts our standards and our core values,” it said. “We are grateful to our employees who spoke with us and we will take every measure to protect their privacy.”
It isn’t clear exactly what the behaviour entailed, or the number of the women that came forward. Rogers Media refused to give any additional details when asked Thursday night.
Bob McCown, the host of Prime Time Sports, first announced Zaun’s dismissal on-air Thursday evening.
Jamie Campbell, Zaun’s longtime co-anchor, declined to comment when reached by the Star on Thursday night.
Zaun did not immediately respond to a phone call and email message on Thursday night requesting comment.
The allegations against Zaun come in the wake of accusations of sexual assault, rape and sexual harassment made against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in October. Since then, a number of high-profile men, including actor Kevin Spacey, comedian Louie C.K., Senator Al Franken and television hosts Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer, have been subject to allegations of sexually inappropriate behaviour.
Zaun was born and raised in California. He played for Team USA at the 1989 World Junior Championship, winning gold, and also played in the U.S. Olympic Festival. He started his 16-year professional baseball career when he signed with the Baltimore Orioles that year, making his major-league debut with them in 1995.
From 2004 to 2008 he was a catcher for the Toronto Blue Jays, but signed with the Orioles again in early 2009. He went on to play for the Florida Marlins, with whom he won a World Series title.
Zaun retired from professional baseball in 2011 and became a full-time analyst with Rogers Sportsnet.
He is known for his opinionated streak and flashy suits, earning him a comparison to Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry. He’s also been tagged for posting, then deleting controversial messages on Twitter.
In one post in 2012, he called women in a Toronto bar “tubby, unfortunately man-ish, and super stuck up,” but later apologized, claiming that the women he was referring to were mistreating several female friends of his.
“It’s something that I regret doing,” he told the Star at the time.
Reactions from the sports community on Twitter began shortly after Sportsnet announced Zaun’s termination. Sarah Spain, a commentator on ESPN, cited it as #MeToo’s first major incursion into the world of sports. The hashtag has been widely used by women since allegations of Weinstein’s behaviour became known to publicize their experiences with sexual assault and harassment.
“The first domino has fallen,” Spain tweeted. “Can only imagine the fitful sleep of all the perpetrators out there who have, up until now, enjoyed the safety of an industry long overdo for a reckoning.”