Houston Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman issued an apology Tuesday over an incident in which he was accused of taunting three female reporters after the team clinched the American League pennant Saturday night.
According to a Monday story by Sports Illustrated's Stephanie Apstein, Taubman repeatedly yelled at the female reporters regarding Houston closer Roberto Osuna, whom the Astros acquired last season while he was serving a 75-game suspension for allegedly assaulting a woman.
According to Apstein, Taubman turned to the reporters, one of whom was wearing a purple bracelet for domestic violence awareness, and shouted: "Thank God we got Osuna! I'm so (expletive) glad we got Osuna!"
The club initially called the story "misleading and completely irresponsible," adding that, "We are extremely disappointed in Sports Illustrated's attempt to fabricate a story where one does not exist."
But when other journalists confirmed Apstein's account and began writing about it, a new of wave of statements came out Tuesday. No statement from the team has apologized for attacking Apstein's credibility, however.
"This past Saturday, during our clubhouse celebration, I used inappropriate language for which I am deeply sorry and embarrassed," Taubman said in a statement.
"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."
Apstein detailed the allegations after covering Game 6 of the AL Championship Series and heading to the raucous Houston locker room afterward. Minutes earlier, Osuna had given up a two-run homer in the ninth inning to blow a lead before the Astros beat the New York Yankees 6-4 on a two-run homer by Jose Altuve.
Apstein wrote that "the outburst was frightening and offensive enough that another Houston staffer apologized."
Astros owner Jim Crane did not directly address what happened in his Tuesday statement.
"The Astros continue to be committed to using our voice on the issue of domestic violence," he said. "We not only ensure mandatory training annually for all of our employees, we have also created an important partnership with the Texas Council on Family Violence, and have raised over $300K through our initiatives to help various agencies providing important support for this cause. We fully support MLB and baseball's stance and values regarding domestic violence."
Major League Baseball said it will investigate the incident.
"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 in a release. "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."
The Astros did not make Taubman available for an interview for the Sports Illustrated story.
The Houston Chronicle cited eyewitnesses who described Taubman as holding a cigar and standing with two or three other men when he screamed toward the group of women. No interviews were taking place at the time and no players were in the vicinity, the Chronicle reported, with about 8 feet separating the Astros official from the startled reporters.
The Astros are set to host the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night in Game 1 of the World Series.
--Field Level Media