Pete Rose’s days at Fox Sports have come to an end.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Major League Baseball’s all-time hits leader will not continue at the cable network, where he was slated to return to the desk as part of its coverage of postseason games. Fox Sports declined comment.
The news follows recent allegations that Rose had a sexual relationship with an underage girl in the 1970s. The claim is part of a defamation suit Rose filed last year against attorney John Dowd, who served as MLB’s outside counsel in the investigation that led to the former slugger’s lifetime ban from the sport in 1989 for betting on games featuring the Cincinnati Reds when he was the team’s manager.
A sworn statement by the woman, identified as Jane Doe, in a motion filed July 31 by Dowd’s defense attorney, alleges that Rose had a relationship with her for several years, beginning before she turned 16, the age of consent in Ohio, where the woman and Rose lived at the time. Rose acknowledged in court documents that he had sex with the woman but thought she was 16 at the time. Rose would have been 34 then and was married with two children. The statute of limitations means that Rose will not face criminal jeopardy.
The decision to sever ties with Rose comes as 21st Century Fox has been rocked by systemic harassment allegations at Fox News that have resulted in millions of dollars in settlements.
Recently, the division suspended Fox Business Network anchor Charles Payne and Fox News Channel host Eric Bolling amid separate claims of inappropriate behavior toward women. (Payne and Bolling have denied the allegations.) And Fox Sports in July fired Jamie Horowitz, its president of national networks, after an investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior with female colleagues. (Horowitz, through a lawyer, denied the allegations and is fighting his termination for cause.)
Fox Sports announced in March that Rose — a three-time World Series champion — was set to return to cover MLB for the network as a studio analyst alongside Hall of Famer Frank Thomas. Last season, Rose joined a Fox Sports team that included Thomas and Alex Rodriguez in covering postseason games.