COMMENTARY: The MLB needs to be more accountable with consequences for domestic violence


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Game one of the World Series is set to take place in Houston, as the Astros and Braves collide in a must see series.

In every circumstance, domestic violence is unacceptable. Taunting a domestic violence advocate in front of her peers is inexcusable. Denying a story and defending an ignorant comment from an executive is inexplicable.

According to a report by Sports Illustrated, Houston Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman was in the Astros’ clubhouse to celebrate the team’s American League Championship Series victory over the New York Yankees. As the Astros celebrated, Taubman turned to a group of female reporters, including one wearing a purple domestic violence awareness bracelet, and began yelling at them.

“Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f—ing glad we got Osuna!” Taubman said. 

According to a report by ESPN, Astros closer Roberto Osuna violated the MLB domestic violence policy and served a 75 game suspension in 2018. Osuna was acquired by the Astros from the Toronto Blue Jays before the trade deadline last season. 

At the time, Osuna was serving his MLB suspension for alleged domestic violence against the mother of his child. Osuna’s suspension remains the third-longest in MLB history for violating the domestic violence policy, per ESPN. 

Strike one. Why is a front-office executive yelling in the clubhouse? According to Taubman, his comments came in the “spur of the moment.” Yet, Apstein’s report states Taubman addressed the reporters six times. Fool me once, shame on Taubman. But fool me six times? Shame on Taubman and the Astros organization.

Strike two. According to Sports Illustrated, the reporters weren’t addressing Taubman. This was a calculated verbal assault by Taubman. His words showed the hypocrisy of the Astros organization by taunting reporters–female reporters. 

The hypocrisy of the Astros stems from their actions after they acquired Osuna. According to Sports Illustrated, the Astros created a “zero tolerance policy” for domestic violence, donated $214,000 to various shelters and hung fliers with hotline numbers in every woman’s restroom at Minute Maid Park. They really took this domestic violence awareness seriously. What about educating your own personnel? 

Strike three. Wait, Taubman, you’re not out yet. The Astros challenged Apstein’s professionalism claiming she was attempting to “fabricate a story where one does not exist,” per ESPN. Taubman only apologized for using profanity, not for his comments. The Astros kept Taubman employed even after Apstein’s report was published. 

Now, you’re out. Taubman was fired on Oct. 24. The Astros released a statement admitting fault in their “investigation” and apologizing to Apstein, Sports Illustrated and witnesses of Taubman’s comments. What kind of investigation attacks a reporter’s professionalism and her employer? That sounds more like a personal attack; Investigations collect and analyze evidence. 

The Astros really didn’t want to fire Taubman. Yet, the Astros finally succumbed not because they wanted to, but because they had to. Taubman’s comments were a serious distraction. The Astros were now in the World Series. They had been embarrassed in front of their home crowd by the Washington Nationals. Something needed to change and Taubman was the obvious choice. Regardless, the Astros’ culture remained the same.