A remarkable aspect of the situation with former Houston Astros’ assistant general manager Brandon Taubman (who the team eventually fired Thursday, five days after he repeatedly yelled “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so fucking glad we got Osuna!” at reporters and three days after those comments were reported to the public in an article by Stephanie Apstein of Sports Illustrated) is how much worse the Astros and GM Jeff Luhnow (seen above earlier this month during the ALCS) have made it with their responses. The team’s initial statement Monday called SI’s story “misleading and extremely irresponsible” and said “We are extremely disappointed in Sports Illustrated’s attempt to fabricate a story where one does not exist.”
Even though the SI piece was quickly supported by multiple other reporters, the Astros didn’t walk back that statement accusing Apstein and SI of fabrication until Thursday, when they called their initial reaction “wrong” in a statement about Taubman’s firing. That statement also included apologies to Apstein and SI. But it wasn’t a full retraction of the first statement, and Luhnnow’s press conference didn’t help matters: he refused to indicate who wrote the first statement, saying only “many people were involved in reviewing it” (including himself), and he claimed that he had been too busy to personally apologize to Apstein.
Luhnow also called that first statement “wrong” and “incorrect,” even saying “there was nothing about the statement that was correct.” But then, when Luhnow finally met with Apstein Friday, he wouldn’t commit to a full public retraction of that statement:
Stephanie Apstein met with Jeff Luhnow in the dugout just now. She asked for a retraction to the team’s first statement suggesting she fabricated her story. He didn’t commit to issuing one.
— Ben Strauss (@benjstrauss) October 25, 2019
Yes, the Astros have essentially indicated that they no longer stand by that first statement with their comments of “wrong” and “incorrect” (which is good, as that first statement has been rather completely refuted by reporting at this point), but there’s still value to putting out a full official retraction. And there’s also value to a more complete apology given the severity of the fabrication charges they leveled at Apstein and SI (which, again, have been thoroughly disproved by now). It seemingly wouldn’t cost the Astros much to do that, especially now that that’s followed a request from Apstein. And choosing not to do that is just going to drag this on longer, and to make them continue to look bad.
[Ben Strauss on Twitter]