Sports journalist Hannah Robbins weighs in on the controversy surrounding the Houston Astros and their mishandling of the Osuna assault affair.
Unfortunately for the team, the Astros didn’t win big at the World Series. However, even before their eventual loss to the Nationals, they were not doing well. The Astros were plagued with controversy during the World Series, and their handling of the Astro Executive Brandon Taubman incident did not score them any runs.
After the game that led the Astros to the World Series, reporter Stephanie Apstein published an article in Sports Illustrated that discussed Taubman’s celebration after the game where he shouted at several female reporters, “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f—— glad we got Osuna!” The Sports Illustrated article, and the Astros’ response are at the crux of this controversy.
First, let’s break down why this comment is worth reporting. Roberto Osuna was traded to the Astros last year from the Blue Jays after he allegedly assaulted Alejandra Román Cota, the mother of his child. The alleged assault made Osuna a cheaper trade, and the Astros only had to part with a few middling players for the deal.
Once Osuna finished his 75 game suspension, the Astros could now let him play. This decision was met with its own attempted PR spin, but stating that this trade brought greater awareness to the cause foreshadowed the Astros ability to handle this issue.
So, now Osuna was on the team, and if you ignore the whole personal life thing, doing very well. This leads us to the locker room comments. After that article was published (without comment by the Astros), the Astros pushed back, leading to controversy number two.
The Astros alleged that the incident Apstein reported on did not exist, and that it was an attempt to “fabricate a story where one does not exist.” This was not taken well. The Astros tried to silence a reporter in an attempt to back up their own executive, and it did nothing but make the Astros look more guilty.
Taubman weighed in, saying he didn’t mean to offend anyone and was “deeply sorry and embarrassed” by his behavior. This apology doesn’t fix the issue, but at least shows Taubman recognized what he did was wrong, or at least some media person did.
After multiple reporters corroborated Apstein’s story, the Astros backtracked their statement, not apologizing, but instead discussing their focus on domestic violence prevention, which also didn’t sway the public or media in their favor and clearly was hypocritical. They then decided to double down on their admission that things happened, firing Taubman and stating that they “were wrong,” which doesn’t necessarily apologize for anything in particular, nor does it discuss what exactly they did wrong.
This entire series of events just shows how out of touch baseball is with the world. The boys club attitude that allows a coach to ignore what’s going on off the field and only focus on how an athlete plays doesn’t work today, and it blew up in the Astro’s faces. Maybe next time teams will think more before getting athletes with domestic violence charges on their team (but honestly, I’m not that hopeful). Either way, the Astros didn’t win the World Series pennant or the media game.