Media

Astros assistant GM apologizes for 'inappropriate' comments to female reporters

Houston Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman apologized Tuesday over comments he made to female reporters following the team's victory in the American League Championship Series.

"This past Saturday, during our clubhouse celebration, I used inappropriate language for which I am deeply sorry and embarrassed," Taubman said in a statement hours before the team was set to appear in Game 1 of the World Series.

"In retrospect, I realize that my comments were unprofessional and inappropriate."

Sports Illustrated national baseball writer Stephanie Apstein said she was standing with two fellow female reporters watching the Saturday night celebration when they said Taubman yelled "thank God we got Osuna! I'm so f------ glad we got Osuna!"

Apstein told The Washington Post in a phone interview Tuesday that she and her colleagues "were shaken" by Taubman's remarks.

Taubman's comments reference Astros All-Star closer Roberto Osuna, who the team acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in 2018 while he was in the middle of a 75-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's domestic violence policy.

In May 2018, Osuna was charged with assault involving the mother of his child. Charges were dropped, but the Astros received major criticism for their decision to trade for Osuna.

Monday, Apstein reportedly returned to Minute Maid Park, home of the Astros, to report on the team's practice leading up to Game 1 of the World Series against the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.

According to The Post, Apstein says she was discouraged from writing about the event by a member of Houston's public relations team. And although Apstein requested to speak with Taubman, he wasn't present during media availability later that day.

Apstein said she then decided to write about the incident.

"I wrote it because it's not right and it's true and that's our obligation to say things that are true and then peel back the curtain on attitudes that I think are pervasive in the game," she told The Post.

After Apstein's story was originally published to Sports Illustrated's website Monday night, the Astros responded with a statement, saying that Taubman's words weren't "directed toward any specific reporters. We are extremely disappointed in Sports Illustrated's attempt to fabricate a story where one does not exist."

Subsequently, the Houston Chronicle confirmed three eyewitness accounts that rebutted the Astros' claim that players were in the vicinity and that interviews were taking place nearby.

The team's statement also triggered a large outpouring of support for Apstein's reporting.

"The Astros called this @stephapstein report misleading," Chronicle sports reporter Hunter Atkins tweeted. "It is not. I was there."

 

Astros owner Jim Crane said in a statement reported by The Post that the team is "committed to using our voice to create awareness and support on the issue of domestic violence."

The MLB also released a statement Tuesday afternoon responding to the incident involving the team's assistant general manager.

"Domestic violence is extraordinarily serious and everyone in baseball must use care to not engage in any behavior - whether intentional or not - that could be construed as minimizing the egregiousness of an act of domestic violence," the league said.

"We became aware of this incident through the Sports Illustrated article. The Astros have disputed Sports Illustrated's characterization of the incident. MLB will interview those involved before commenting further."

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