The Houston Astros have apologized to a Sports Illustrated reporter for attempting to discredit her story.
Astros owner Jim Crane sent SI reporter Stepehanie Apstein a letter on Saturday apologizing for the team, which initially called her report on assistant general manager Brandon Taubman “an attempt to fabricate a story.”
Taubman made unsettling remarks in the Astros locker room following the team’s victory over the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series. Taubman pointedly shouted, “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so [expletive] glad we got Osuna!” toward reporters, including one who criticized the acquisition of Roberto Osuna, the Houston relief pitcher accused of domestic violence and suspended by Major League Baseball for actions while with another team.
The Astros fumbled their explanation for Taubman’s conduct, at first denying the accuracy of the report, then not making senior executives immediately available to comment. Finally, it fell to Astros manager A.J. Hinch to condemn the Taubman comments. A MLB investigation was also conducted until, finally, the Astros severed ties with Taubman.
Ironically, Osuna almost blew the final game of the ALCS, allowing a game-tying two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning. That made Taubman’s aggressive comments stand out, because Osuna had not been a key to the game and merited no praise.
Osuna allegedly assaulted Alejandra Román Cota, the mother of his child, in May 2018 when he was a Toronto Blue Jay. The charges of domestic violence were dropped when Cota returned to Mexico and declined to testify. MLB suspended Osuna for 75 games.
Crane’s letter said, “On behalf of the entire Astros organization, I want to personally apologize for the statement we issued on Monday October 21st. We were wrong and I am sorry that we initially questioned your professionalism. We retract that statement, and I assure you that the Houston Astros will learn from this experience.”
Earlier, Houston had issued another statement upon its firing of Taubman.
“Our initial investigation led us to believe that Brandon Taubman’s inappropriate comments were not directed toward any reporter,” a team statement said. “We were wrong. We sincerely apologize to Stephanie Apstein, Sports Illustrated, and to all individuals who witnessed this incident or were offended by the inappropriate conduct. The Astros in no way intended to minimize the issues related to domestic violence.
“Our initial belief was based on witness statements about the incident. Subsequent interviews have revealed that Taubman’s inappropriate comments were, in fact, directed toward one or more reporters. Accordingly, we have terminated Brandon Taubman’s employment with the Houston Astros.”