REPORT: Charlotte Knights manager Wes Helms put on ‘indefinite leave’

This is a developing story
Jim Margalus contributed to this article

Charlotte Knights manager Wes Helms has been put on indefinite leave, according to James Fegan of The Athletic.

670 the Score’s Shane Riordan broke the news first with more specific terminology, which was then followed up by Fegan.

Helms has managed the Knights the last two seasons, and would have made his debut in the role in the 2020 season that ended up being wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic. The year before, Helms served as a coach for the Birmingham Barons team, which was managed by Omar Vizquel.

The White Sox fired Vizquel in November of 2019. Chris Getz, who was then Director of Player Development for the White Sox, told assembled media, via MLB.com’s Scott Merkin: “Listen, Omar, ultra-talented player, very good instructor, created a good environment for our players. We just felt with where things are at, our player development system, that it was time to go separate ways.”

Over the next two years, ugly details about Vizquel’s termination would emerge. A December 2020 article from The Athletic about domestic-abuse allegations against Vizquel cited an alleged incident toward the end of the 2019 season with a male Birmingham clubhouse worker. At the time, the clubhouse worker said he had to remain silent about it, and Vizquel issued a clumsy equivalent of a “no comment.”

The following August, the batboy broke his silence in the form of a lawsuit against Vizquel, the Birmingham Barons and the Chicago White Sox for sexual harassment. The lawsuit identified six other employees who were aware of an encounter between the batboy and Vizquel in a shower room, one of which was Helms, who was accused of laughing at the batboy.

Helms was the only one of the six still employed by the White Sox, but it didn’t have an immediate impact on his status. He managed the Knights the rest of the season, then was brought back for 2022.

The White Sox’s only comment on the Vizquel lawsuit came via a statement to The Athletic back in August:

“After first learning of an alleged incident in late August 2019, the Chicago White Sox conducted an internal investigation that resulted in the termination of the organization’s relationship with Omar Vizquel. Because this is active litigation, at this time the White Sox will not comment further regarding the allegations included in this lawsuit.”

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Mike Rankin
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ForsterFTOG

So the Sox front office knew of Helms involvement and did nothing until now.
Not surprising seeing who their first base coach is.

DuckSnorting-CanofCorn

Does he still get paid if he’s on leave rather than terminated?

chipporter

Ya know, I hope, that if this is all based on Helms off hand dismissal of a bad situation, it can be handled with education rather than dismissal. Of course, I have no idea if that’s the case, if it’s been a thematic problem or a one off, or anything else. I’m just a big fan of, when someone wrongs, let them have the opportunity to change. It’s called personal growth and it makes for better, more well rounded people, friends and neighbors.

DuckSnorting-CanofCorn

I agree with you, but if the reports are accurate, I think dismissal would be necessary to allow for personal growth and organizational integrity. The dismissal itself is the education. If there are no consequences to his inaction/mocking in this accusation, then all you learn is that you can get away with it. This is all assuming the reports/accusations are accurate which we currently have no new info on.

The optics don’t look good though which is pretty standard for the White Sox.

chipporter

I think that’s fair, but only to a degree. We’ve become a society without context. We don’t understand the differences between a run 10 laps offense and a court martial offense. It makes it too easy on management to just boot everyone and then claim they did their best, when really what they did, is their easiest.

I would say the dismissal would be warranted for a participant, but less obviously so, for an observer. You don’t learn how to be empathetic and compassionate by getting hanged, you learn it from having it shown to you so that you learn how to show it to someone else. The consequence from dismissal could just as easily be resentment and learning better how to cover your ass, rather than the real lesson of how to listen and be proactive in helping.

ForsterFTOG

You reap what you sow.