HOUSTON — Major League Baseball said in a statement Tuesday that the league will interview relevant parties regarding allegations published Monday night in a Sports Illustrated article.
According to the report by SI’s Stephanie Apstein, during the celebration in the Houston Astros‘ clubhouse after the team’s 6-4 win over the New York Yankees in Game 6 of the ALCS on Saturday, assistant general manager Brandon Taubman turned to a group of female reporters — including one wearing a purple domestic violence awareness bracelet — and repeatedly yelled, “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f—ing glad we got Osuna!”
Last season, Astros closer Roberto Osuna, 24, served a 75-game suspension for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy. Osuna, while a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, was charged in May 2018 with domestic assault; the charge was later withdrawn when the woman he is alleged to have assaulted made it clear she would not travel from Mexico to Toronto to testify.
The SI report Monday was corroborated by multiple witnesses present in the clubhouse at the time.
MLB declined to comment directly on the allegations, instead saying in a statement Tuesday, “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. 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.”
In a statement released Monday after the SI report was published, the club claimed the report was “misleading and completely irresponsible,” adding, “Our executive was supporting the player during a difficult time. His comments had everything to do about the game situation that just occurred and nothing else — they were also not directed toward any specific reporters.”
On Tuesday, Taubman apologized for his behavior via a statement released by the team but maintained that his comments were misinterpreted.
“This past Saturday, during our clubhouse celebration, I used inappropriate language for which I am deeply sorry and embarrassed,” Taubman said. “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. Those that know me know that I am a progressive and charitable member of the community, and a loving and committed husband and father. I hope that those who do not know me understand that the Sports Illustrated article does not reflect who I am or my values. I am sorry if anyone was offended by my actions.”
Also Tuesday, the Baseball Writers Association of America denounced the incident and the team’s handling of it. The BBWAA called for multiple members of the Astros front office to issue a public apology to the media outlets involved in the story.
The BBWAA’s statement said it was “alarmed and dismayed by the actions” of the team and its public relations department and said the team’s denial of the incident was “an unethical and intentional fabrication, designed to discredit our members and all journalists.”
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