A report accusing a Houston Astros executive of taunting female reporters by appearing to make light of domestic violence allegations threatened to overshadow the team's second World Series appearance in three years, as outraged fans demanded the exec's dismissal and the Astros fanned the flames by slamming the original report as "misleading" and "completely irresponsible."
The Sports Illustrated report stemmed from conduct allegedly witnessed by several reporters in the Astros clubhouse Saturday night as the team celebrated its American League Championship Series win. During that evening's game, closer Roberto Osuna had allowed a two-run home run to Yankees infielder D.J. LaMahieu in the ninth inning that temporarily tied the score before Astros second baseman Jose Altuve hit a home run to win the game and clinch the series. Osuna had previously served a suspension under MLB's domestic violence policy, though he was not charged with a crime by police, and that history combined with his failure on the mound Saturday made Brandon Taubman's unsolicited clubhouse comments stand out even more.
Taubman, the Astro’s assistant general manager, allegedly turned toward a group of female reporters, one of whom was wearing a domestic violence awareness bracelet, and shouted at least six times: “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f------ glad we got Osuna!”
At least three witnesses, including two Houston Chronicle reporters, confirmed the incident to the Chronicle in a separate report.
After initially offering no comment when the report was first published Monday by Sports Illustrated, the team later issued a statement blasting what they claimed to be a “misleading” story.
“The story posted by Sports Illustrated is misleading and completely irresponsible," the statement said. "An Astros player was being asked questions about a difficult outing. 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. We are extremely disappointed in Sports Illustrated’s attempt to fabricate a story where one does not exist.”
Houston acquired Osuna, who had a 3.60 ERA in four ALCS appearances, in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays in July 2018 while the pitcher was in the midst of serving his 75-game suspension for violating baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse policy. Canadian prosecutors dropped the domestic abuse charges against Osuna last September after the mother of his young child returned to Mexico and declined to testify.