MLB to look into claims against Astros executive Brandon Taubman

HOUSTON -- Major League Baseball said Tuesday that the league will interview relevant parties regarding allegations about a Houston Astros executive published Monday night in a Sports Illustrated article.

According to the report in SI, during the celebration in the Astros'clubhouse after the team's victory over the New York Yankees in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, assistant general manager Brandon Taubman turned to a group of female reporters -- including one wearing a purple domestic violence awareness bracelet -- and repeatedly yelled, "Thank God we got (Roberto) Osuna! I'm so f---ing glad we got Osuna!"

The Astros initially called the report "misleading and completely irresponsible." Taubman has since apologized for his language but said his comments were misinterpreted. Astros manager AJ Hinch told reporters Tuesday that the incident was "unfortunate" and "uncalled for."

Wednesday, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow addressed the incident for the first time.

"Brandon has apologized for inappropriate behavior and I think, from my perspective, clearly something happened that he regrets," Luhnow said on Sports Talk 790. "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."

Luhnow declined to comment any further until MLB concludes its investigation.

On Tuesday night,NPR reportedthat the shouts appeared to be directed specifically at the reporter wearing the purple bracelet. Taubman, according to the report, has complained in the past when that reporter tweeted about domestic violence awareness on nights when Osuna pitched.

Last season, Osuna, 24, served a 75-game suspension for violating MLB's domestic violence policy. The closer, while a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, was charged in May 2018 with domestic assault; the charge was later withdrawn when the woman he is alleged to have assaulted made it clear she would not travel from Mexico to Toronto to testify. Houston acquired him via trade in July 2018.

The SI report Monday was corroborated by multiple witnesses present in the clubhouse at the time.

MLB declined to comment directly on the allegations, instead saying in a statement Tuesday, "Domestic violence is extraordinarily serious and everyone in baseball must use care to not engage in any behavior -- whether intentional or not -- that could be construed as minimizing the egregiousness of an act of domestic violence. We became aware of this incident through the Sports Illustrated article. The Astros have disputed Sports Illustrated's characterization of the incident. MLB will interview those involved before commenting further."

In its statement disputing the report on Monday, the Astros said, "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."

On Tuesday, Taubman apologized for his behavior via a statement released by the team but maintained that his comments were misinterpreted.

"This past Saturday, during our clubhouse celebration, I used inappropriate language for which I am deeply sorry and embarrassed," Taubman said. "In retrospect, I realize that my comments were unprofessional and inappropriate. My overexuberance in support of a player has been misinterpreted as a demonstration of a regressive attitude about an important social issue. Those that know me know that I am a progressive and charitable member of the community, and a loving and committed husband and father. I hope that those who do not know me understand that the Sports Illustrated article does not reflect who I am or my values. I am sorry if anyone was offended by my actions."

Hinch said he was "disappointed" that the incident occurred and that "we all need to be better across the board, in the industry." Hinch said he wasn't there when it happened and, "like everybody," read what happened.

"For me, as a leader in this organization down here in the clubhouse, on the field, I take everything that happens in the clubhouse to heart," Hinch said just hours before Game 1 of the World Series against the Washington Nationals.

"No one -- it doesn't matter if it's a player, a coach, a manager, any of you members of the media -- should ever feel like when you come into our clubhouse that you're going to be uncomfortable or disrespected."

Also Tuesday, the Baseball Writers' Association of America denounced the incident and the team's handling of it. The BBWAA called for multiple members of the Astros' front office to issue a public apology to the media outlets involved in the story.

The BBWAA's statement said it was "alarmed and dismayed by the actions" of the team and its public relations department and said the team's denial of the incident was "an unethical and intentional fabrication, designed to discredit our members and all journalists."

The Association for Women in Sports Media called on the Astros to retract the statement that the story was fabricated.

"As a watchdog organization, we demand fair treatment and positive workplace environments for women working in the field," the statement said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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