Sports | October 25, 2019 8:19 am

Astros Fire Assistant GM Brandon Taubman Over Osuna Comments to Female Reporters

They should fire Osuna next

Brandon Taubman
Brandon Taubman

The Astros fired assistant general manager Brandon Taubman on Thursday (Oct. 24), five days after he yelled “Thank god we got Osuna! I’m so fucking glad we got Osuna!” in the direction of a group of female reporters — one of whom was wearing a purple domestic violence awareness bracelet — while celebrating the team’s ALCS victory.

After initially putting out a statement calling a report of the incident by Sports Illustrated‘s Stephanie Apstein “misleading,” “completely irresponsible” and a “fabrication,” the team apologized to Apstein, saying in a statement that, “We were wrong,” and adding that “the Astros in no way intended to minimize the issues related to domestic violence.”

Of course, firing Taubman is a good start, but they’re still wrong. They’re obviously happy they acquired Roberto Osuna. They knew when they traded for him in 2018 that he had violated the league’s domestic violence policy, having just been suspended for 75 games after allegedly assaulting the mother of his son. But they welcomed him aboard and handed him millions of dollars because he helps them win games. To stave off the bad PR that comes from keeping an (alleged) domestic abuser on the payroll, they donated $300,000 to local women’s shelters. That’s less than three weeks’ salary for Osuna, who the team paid $6.5 million in 2019.

But if mentioning a player’s name and expressing your support for him can (correctly, in this case) be seen as a tacit endorsement of domestic violence or an act of gendered aggression, maybe…that guy shouldn’t be on the team? Taubman needed to go, but every day that Osuna is allowed to wear an Astros uniform and keep collecting his checks is another day that the team absolutely is “minimizing the issues related to domestic violence.” He, along with whoever in the organization made the initial decision to try to smear Apstein and her reporting, should be next on the chopping block.

Sadly, the lack of concern over domestic violence is a league-wide problem. The Chicago Cubs hosted a “Women’s Empowerment Night” at Wrigley Field on May 20 this year, just a couple weeks after allowing Addison Russell to return to the roster after he served a 40-game suspension for allegedly abusing his (now ex-) wife. Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman signed a five-year, $86 million contract with the team in December 2016, a year after Chapman allegedly choked his girlfriend and fired eight gunshots.

The “Women’s Empowerment” nights and the chump-change donations to women’s charities and firing the Taubmans mean little to nothing when the league continues to allow known abusers to play and profit. A slap on the wrist in the form of a suspension isn’t enough when the message — that the team is “so fucking glad” these players are around, that violence against women isn’t an offense worth cutting ties over — rings loud and clear.

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