Astros Fire Brandon Taubman, Now Need To Fire Whoever Smeared Stephanie Apstein [Update]

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The Houston Astros have fired assistant GM Brandon Taubman for conduct that “does not reflect the values” of the organization, according to a team statement released on Thursday.


Stephanie Apstein of Sports Illustrated published a report on Monday revealing that Taubman had taunted three female reporters about the Astros signing closer Roberto Osuna, who was suspended for 75 games last season for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy, as the team celebrated its ALCS victory over the Yankees. According to the report, Taubman yelled, “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so fucking glad we got Osuna!”

While the statement offers a meager apology to Apstein, and acknowledges that the organization was wrong with its initial response, noticeably absent is any explanation for why Houston released a strongly worded comment decrying the legitimacy of the Sports Illustrated report, allowed an employee to pull the “as a father of daughters” card while offering a non-apology of his own, and based these decisions on an investigation whose conclusion proved to be far from reality. Who were those “witnesses” who lied to smear Apstein and the other reporters present as fabulists? Who crafted that first statement? What consequences will they face?

This statement also does nothing to address the strange comments Astros GM Jeff Luhnow gave to local station SportsTalk790 about what Taubman did.

“Brandon has apologized from inappropriate behavior and I think, from my perspective, clearly something happened that he regrets,” Luhnow said.

“What we really don’t know is the intent behind the inappropriate comments he made. We may never know that because the person who said them and the people who heard them, at least up to this point, have different perspectives.”

Of course, the breadth of possibilities of with which Taubman’s intentions could have been based on couldn’t possibly extend beyond wanting to be snide towards women, especially one who was wearing a purple domestic violence awareness bracelet and had tweeted about the subject of domestic violence before—which, by all account, Taubman was aware of.

It would be great if this was a case of the Astros committing to an organizational overhaul in response to not just what Taubman did, but also what others around the ballclub did to protect this employee. But considering how much blowback had to occur before anything of substance happened, the Astros’ delay in acting responsibly should be remembered at least as much as the fact that they eventually did.


Update (7:12 p.m. ET): Dig up, stupid!