Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow admitted Thursday he did not personally apologize to a Sports Illustrated writer for her report about a recently fired official who was seen taunting a group of female journalists by bragging about a player accused of a domestic assault.
Luhnow, who was addressing the decision to fire assistant general manager Brandon Taubman for his actions in the locker room after the Astros' victory over the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series game, was asked whether he personally reached out to reporter Stephanie Apstein.
“I have not — I’ve been traveling up here,” Luhnow said, according to the MLB Network. “We’ve been — I had to have a pretty tough conversation this morning with someone that’s worked for me for a long time. But, I will as soon as I can.”
According to MLB Network’s Hazel Mae, Apstein was sitting at the press conference.
Apstein and Sports Illustrated were put on blast by the Astros organization almost immediately after the report surfaced that Taubman profanely bragged about Houston closer Roberto Osuna, who was accused but never charged with domestic abuse during his tenure as a Toronto Blue Jay. He was never arrested but served a lengthy suspension. The team's first reaction was to call the Sports Illustrated report “misleading.”
“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.”
Luhnow also addressed the statement, saying “many people” reviewed the release.
“That original reaction by the Astros was wrong, and we own it as an organization,” he said. “There were many people involved in reviewing that and approving that, and I’m not going to get into the details of that. It was wrong. It was the Astros’ decision.”
Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow speaks at a news conference Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019, in Washington. The Astros and the Washington Nationals are scheduled to play Game 3 of baseball’s World Series on Friday. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
In the statement announcing the dismissal of Taubman, the Astros apologized to Apstein and Sports Illustrated.
“Our initial investigation led us to believe that Brandon Taubman’s inappropriate comments were not directed toward any reporter. We were wrong. We sincerely apology to Stephanie Apstein, Sports Illustrated and to all the individuals who witnessed the incident or were offended by the inappropriate conduct. The Astros in no way intended to minimize the issues related to domestic violence.”