The Boston Globe reports that Jessica Moran resigned from her position at Comcast SportsNet. Mark Shanahan writes that there had been some, “speculation among local and national baseball reporters about Farrell’s relationship with Moran.”
How this all went down between Comcast SportsNet, Moran and Shanahan is not entirely clear. Did Comcast hear about the chatter amongst the reporters and “encourage” Moran to resign? Did Shanahan threaten Comcast and Moran to go public with the rumor? Or did Moran sense the rumors were rampant, resign on her own and then decide to inform The Globe and Shanahan?
I’m not sure we will know the answers to these questions any time soon, if ever. But I do know one thing, John Farrell, the manager of the Boston Red Sox, should lose his job as well. What Jessica Moran did to compromise her professionalism is peanuts compared to what John Farrell did.
Granted, Moran screwed up. She has some sort of relationship with Farrell, the exact nature and length of which we do not know. However, we do know it’s more than a friendship and therefore goes beyond the bounds of the objective standards necessary for a healthy reporter/subject relationship.
In a piece by Chad Finn of The Globe, Jackie MacMullan weighs in on the topic:
“I’m a journalist,’’ MacMullan said, via the Globe. “And sometimes I wonder if people know what that means anymore. I know when I became a journalist, you had to be objective. That was the rule. That was what you were supposed to be. Sometimes you really liked somebody and they were lousy at what they do, and you had to be willing to write that they were lousy at what they do. And sometimes, someone could be a real idiot, a real jerk, but perform at a very high level. You had to do that, praise them, as well. It’s impossible to be objective about someone when you’re in a personal relationship.”
The last line tells you everything you need to know.
Nonetheless, I believe Farrell and Moran went into this with eyes wide open; anyone who doesn’t is a fool, and I don’t think either of them are foolish. When they decided to enter into a personal relationship, ramifications became inevitable.
Consider the outcome – the media reporter loses her job. As much as I liked her work, and I’ve heard nothing but positives about her, Jessica Moran is only a news reporter whose job it is to give the fans the news about the Red Sox. That’s all, the news about the team. John Farrell manages the Boston Red Sox. Farrell is the leader of a New England institution. His job carries the responsibility of directing a 116 year-old, region-defining institution, cherished by millions. He is in position to directly affect the number of wins and losses and therefore the team’s chance to win the World Series.
By entering this relationship with Moran, Farrell put his perception, his power, and therefore his ability to manage his clubhouse effectively in jeopardy. It can be argued that part of the reason for the team’s poor performance of late is due to being led by a compromised manager. If his players knew about this relationship, and they surely did, it likely damaged his reputation and his leadership in the clubhouse. This led to a poorly performing team, a team not listening to its manager, not taking direction, and hence losing games. Farrell dating a member of the media conveys a lack of discipline and responsibility to his profession. If he can’t abide by the rules, how can he ask his players to?
What Farrell put at risk, the on-field results of the Boston Red Sox, is a pretty damn big deal to me. Much bigger than whatever Moran compromised. What – her ability to objectively report on the Red Sox? Come on now, let’s be serious. Farrell’s position and his import to you, me and every other member of Red Sox Nation far outweigh Moran’s. He should at least suffer similar consequences.
John Farrell is a lifetime 126-150 manager with one winning season out of five. He may be a nice man, but he is not a good baseball manager. He made a questionable personal decision and discredited his standing with the team. He damaged his leadership ability and weakened the team when he decided to take up with Moran. Don’t wait until the team is 10-20 and in last place again – get rid of him now.
Follow me on Twitter @Jdanker22.