A time that should have been marked by triumphant celebration ended up being a moment one member of the Houston Astros’ staff has come to regret.
Astros Assistant General Manager Brandon Taubman’s locker room comment to female reporters after the Astros’ defeated the New York Yankees in Game 6 of the American League Championship series on Saturday has cost him his job.
According to Sports Illustrated, Taubman repeatedly yelled at a group of female reporters after the game, “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f***ing glad we got Osuna!”
Taubman was referencing closer Roberto Osuna, who was traded to the Astros by the Toronto Blue Jays after being suspended for 75 games by Major League Baseball for domestic violence.
Here is how Sports Illustrated first reported the incident, which the magazine framed as an example of “MLB’s forgive-and-forget attitude toward domestic violence”:
[I]n the center of the room, assistant general manager Brandon Taubman turned to a group of three female reporters, including one wearing a purple domestic-violence awareness bracelet, and yelled, half a dozen times, “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f—— glad we got Osuna!”
The outburst was offensive and frightening enough that another Houston staffer apologized. The Astros declined to comment. They also declined to make Taubman available for an interview.
Initially, the Astros claimed that Sports Illustrated was fabricating the story, describing it as “misleading and completely irresponsible.”
“The story posted by Sports Illustrated is misleading and completely irresponsible,” the statement read. “An Astros player was being asked questions about a difficult outing. Our executive was supporting the player at a difficult time. His comments had everything to do about the game situation that just occurred and nothing else — they were also not directed at any specific reporters. We are extremely disappointed in Sports Illustrated’s attempt to fabricate a story where one does not exist.”
But after an investigation by the league, the team released a statement on Thursday announcing that they were “wrong” in their initial assessment and that Taubman was out.
“During the past two days, the Astros pro-actively assisted Major League Baseball in interviewing Astros employees as part of MLB’s investigation of the events published in the recent Sports Illustrated article. Major League Baseball also separately interviewed members of the media over the past 24 hours,” the statement read.
“Our initial investigation led us to believe that Brandon Taubman’s inappropriate comments were not directed toward any reporter,” the statement continued. “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,” the Astros explained. “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. His conduct does not reflect the values of our organization and we believe this is the most appropriate course of action.”
As reported by Sports Illustrated on Thursday, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said the team was “wrong” for initially dismissing the SI claim. The initial statement, he said, “should have never been sent.”
“That original reaction by the Astros was wrong, and we own it as an organization,” Luhnow said. “There were many people involved in reviewing that and approving that, and I’m not going to get into the details of that. It was wrong. It was the Astros’ decision.”