HOUSTON, Tx. (CBS) – The Houston Astros have fired assistant general manager Brandon Taubman, according to a team release. Taubman’s termination comes days after a clubhouse incident in which he made repeated inappropriate comments toward female reporters concerning the club’s acquisition of pitcher Roberto Osuna, who was arrested for domestic violence prior to his acquisition in July 2018. Charges were later dropped against Osuna, but he served a 75-game suspension for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy.
Taubman is said to have yelled “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so [expletive] glad we got Osuna!” Taubman’s acts were originally chronicled by Sports Illustrated reporter Stephanie Apstein. It’s worth noting that another of Taubman’s intended targets was wearing a domestic violence awareness bracelet. The reporter in question had drawn Taubman’s ire before, as he had voiced displeasure with her tweeting out the phone number of a domestic violence hotline during Osuna’s appearances, per NPR.
Here’s the release in its entirety:
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.
- Our initial investigation led us to believe that Brandon Taubman’s inappropriate comments were not directed toward any reporter. 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. His conduct does not reflect the values of our organization and we believe this is the most appropriate course of action.
- We are thankful to Major League Baseball and to everyone that cooperated in the investigation. As previously stated, the Astros are very committed to using our voice to create awareness and support on the issue of domestic violence. We fully support MLB and baseball’s stance and values regarding domestic violence. We will continue to make this cause a priority for our organization.
It’s unclear what witnesses the Astros talked to who verified Taubman’s account — he claimed to be supporting a player during an interview session, though it was later revealed no players were around and no interviews were taking place. The Astros had initially accused Apstein of misrepresenting the events, calling her article “misleading” and “irresponsible” — this despite other reporters who witnessed the scene backing her account. It’s worth noting the Astros did not apologize for their original release.
General manager Jeff Luhnow defended the Osuna trade when it was made despite the club’s “zero-tolerance” policy regarding domestic violence. Luhnow claimed he hoped the trade could be a “positive” since it would raise awareness about the topic.
Manager A.J. Hinch, for his part, said before Game 1 that, “No one should ever feel like when you come into our clubhouse that you’re going to be uncomfortable or disrespected. I think we all need to be better across the board in the industry.”