The team also said that their "initial investigation" into the incident was wrong

By Helen Murphy
October 25, 2019 11:29 AM
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Brandon Taubman
Credit: Michael Ciaglo/Houston Chronicle via AP

Houston Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman has been fired after days of backlash against his comments involving a player previously charged with domestic violence.

The Astros — who are currently battling the Washington Nationals in the World Series — announced their decision in a statement on Thursday, explaining that “his conduct does not reflect the values of our organization and we believe this is the most appropriate course of action.”

Taubman’s comments ⁠— made in support of Astros closer Roberto Osuna ⁠— were reported Monday night by Sports Illustrated in a story by staff writer Stephanie Apstein, who was in the clubhouse after the Astros clinched the American League pennant with a win against the New York Yankees.

The story included a comment repeated by Taubman amid the celebration: “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f—ing glad we got Osuna!”

Apstein reported that Taubman’s quote was directed at a group of three female reporters, one of whom was wearing a purple domestic violence awareness bracelet. She also noted that his cries were “offensive and frightening” enough to warrant an apology from a different Astros employee.

Roberto Osuna
Roberto Osuna
| Credit: Cooper Neill/MLB Photos via Getty

In the Thursday statement, the team also apologized for their controversial initial response to the incident, in which they accused Apstein of taking the comments out of context and “fabricating” a “misleading and completely irresponsible” story.

“Our initial investigation led us to believe that Brandon Taubman’s inappropriate comments were not directed toward any reporter. We were wrong,” the statement read. “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,” the statement added.

Osuna, then a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, was arrested and charged with assault in May 2018 after allegedly hitting his girlfriend. He was suspended without pay for 75 games and was traded to the Astros in July 2018.

The charges against him were dropped in September 2018 after he agreed to stay away from his alleged victim for one year and continue counseling — and after she returned to Mexico and declined to testify, the Associated Press reported.

Taubman previously apologized for his comments in a statement on Tuesday, saying, “In retrospect, I realize that my comments were unprofessional and inappropriate. My overexuberance in support of a player has been misinterpreted as a demonstration of a regressive attitude about an important social issue … I am sorry if anyone was offended by my actions.”

Taubman has worked for the Astros since 2013, and was promoted to assistant general manager last year, according to his LinkedIn profile.

The Astros are currently up against the Nationals in the World Series, with the Nationals leading two games to zero. The next game is on Friday.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.