(CNN)The Houston Astros’ front office ought to be talking about World Series preparations after a thrilling weekend win. Instead, it’s denying allegations that a team executive verbally accosted women journalists.
It’s not just that he’s accused of yelling; it’s what he allegedly yelled.
Witnesses say Taubman emphatically celebrated the signing of relief pitcher Roberto Osuna, who the Astros acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in 2018, weeks after Major League Baseball handed him a 75-game suspension for violating its domestic violence policy.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Monday report, the team was celebrating its Game 6 win over the New York Yankees when Taubman homed in on three women in the locker room, one wearing a bracelet promoting domestic violence awareness, and said six times, “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f***ing glad we got Osuna!”
An editor’s note atop the Sports Illustrated story said the Astros declined to comment before publication but denied the allegation after the story was published.
The statement, which CNN obtained Tuesday, said reporters were questioning a player about a “difficult outing” when an executive expressed support for the player. The statement names neither Taubman nor Osuna.
“The story posted by Sports Illustrated is misleading and completely irresponsible,” it said. “(The executive’s) 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.”
MLB did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Osuna had had a difficult outing. With his team up 4-2 in the ninth inning, the Astros brought in their star closer, only for the 24-year-old to blow the lead, giving up a two-run homer to the Yankees’ DJ LeMahieu. The Astros’ Jose Altuve would answer in the bottom of the ninth with his own two-run homer, a walkoff to save the series.
Despite the Astros’ front office denying Taubman addressed the women in the locker room, the Houston Chronicle’s Hunter Atkins and Yahoo Sports’ Hannah Keyser said they witnessed the exchange. The Chronicle said another one of its reporters, who it did not name, also saw it.
“Can confirm,” Keyser said, retweeting the Sports Illustrated article.
Atkins, meanwhile, took issue with the Astros claiming the report was misleading, tweeting, “It is not. I was there. Saw it. And I should’ve said something sooner.”
The Astros awarded Taubman a multiyear contract extension last month, according to reports. He left the finance industry to join the team in 2013, according to an Astros bio. He oversees analytics, scouting departments and administrative functions.
Osuna joined the Astros in July 2018, after spending three seasons with the Blue Jays, who shipped him south in a trade two months after his May 8 arrest on assault charges stemming from an incident involving the mother of his 3-year-old son.
The charge was reportedly withdrawn the following September, but not before Commissioner Rob Manfred placed Osuna on administrative leave and then suspended him for 75 games without pay, according to MLB.com.
“Having reviewed all of the available evidence, I have concluded that Mr. Osuna violated the Policy and should be subject to discipline in the form of an unpaid suspension that will expire on August 4th,” Manfred said in a statement at the time.
The Astros placed Osuna on their active roster August 5, 2018, the day after his suspension ended. He finished this season with 38 saves, tops in the American League and the second-most in MLB.
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