Houston Astros owner Jim Crane wrote a letter to Sports Illustrated reporter Stephanie Apstein, apologizing on behalf of the organization for questioning her reporting on the conduct of now-fired assistant general manager Brandon Taubman.
“We were wrong and I am sorry that we initially questioned your professionalism,” Crane wrote in the letter, which Apstein posted to her Twitter page on Sunday. “We retract that statement, and I assure you that the Houston Astros will learn from this experience.”
This past Tuesday, Apstein reported that Taubman taunted several female reporters, including one wearing a purple domestic-violence awareness bracelet, as the Astros were celebrating advancing to the World Series. According to Apstein, Taubman yelled at the women “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f—— glad we got Osuna!”
— Stephanie Apstein (@stephapstein) October 27, 2019
Roberto Osuna, the Astros’ closing pitcher, was arrested in May 2018 for assaulting the mother of his 3-year-old son while pitching as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. Two months later, the Astros traded for Osuna despite the arrest. Charges against him were subsequently dropped in exchange for a restraining order after the victim declined to testify.
Taubman’s outcry in the locker room was seen by the reporters as a way of taunting them for attempting to hold the Astros accountable for not taking domestic violence seriously enough. But after Apstein’s piece was released with corroboration from several reporters present in the locker room, the team released a statement calling her report “misleading and completely irresponsible” and claiming that Taubman’s comments “had everything to do about the game situation that just occurred and nothing else.”
But the statement prompted a backlash from sports media and fans alike, and shortly before Game 1 of the World Series began, Taubman was fired by the Astros with an apology released by both the team and the former GM. Hours later, a follow-up report from NPR cited three eyewitnesses who said that Taubman’s comments about Osuna were directed specifically at the female report wearing the domestic violence awareness bracelet.