On the biggest stage in baseball, the World Series, the Houston Astros’ top brass is highlighting what advocates say are some of the biggest hurdles that still remain in the fight against domestic violence: arrogance and ambivalence.
At a time when the team should be basking in its accomplishments this week, it’s rightly found itself embroiled in an intense examination of whether its actions line up with taking these despicable acts seriously in our community. But on Thursday, the Astros finally took a step in the right direction.
During a celebration in the clubhouse after the game that sent the team to the World Series, Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman yelled a half-dozen times in the direction of three female reporters his profane support of pitcher Roberto Osuna. That’s according to an account from Sports Illustrated reporter Stephanie Apstein.
“Thank God we got (Roberto) Osuna! I’m so (expletive) glad we got Osuna!” — Brandon Taubman, Astros assistant general manager.
One of the women was wearing a purple Domestic Violence Awareness bracelet that acknowledges the month-long observance in October.
Osuna, you might recall, was signed to the team last year weeks after Major League Baseball suspended him for 75 games for violating its domestic violence policy. The criminal charges were later withdrawn after Osuna’s accuser, the mother of his young son, refused to testify against him.
The club first vehemently disputed Apstein’s reporting of the clubhouse incident, calling it misleading and irresponsible. It was not until three other people backed up her account that the team owned up to Taubman’s actions.
It’s shameful it came to that. And it’s shameful that even when Taubman eventually apologized, it was for using inappropriate language. He attributed his words to “overexuberance in support of a player” that should not be miscast as a “regressive attitude about an important social issue.”
As disturbing is Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow doubling down, saying, “we really don’t know the intent of the inappropriate comments” from Taubman.
We didn’t buy it. And we’re glad the Astros finally understood the mess Taubman made. On Thursday, they announced they fired Taubman and had issued an apology to Apstein. They said their initial belief that Taubman didn’t direct his comments at any reporter were wrong.
Too bad it took an outcry over the incident to force the team to look deeper. Too often, a cavalier attitude is the core essence of the problem of not taking domestic violence seriously. And denial that incidents occurred is no longer acceptable.
Too many women — and men — are abused and killed each day for anyone, particularly those on such a big stage, to take these crimes so lightly.
We’ve made some progress. Judges are fighting to take away abusers’ guns. Cities like Dallas have campaigned to increase the role of men in curbing violence against women. And this month, activities throughout the nation will bring awareness to how prevalent this type of assault still is in our communities.
And Major League Baseball says it will interview those involved in the Astros incident. It has said everyone in baseball must take care not to “minimize the egregiousness of an act of domestic violence.”
Maybe this embarrassing episode on the world stage will be a reminder to the Astros.