Opinion: Strike three: Taubman’s out

By Grace Senior, Creative Director

Michael Ciaglo/Houston Chronicle via AP
In this Jan. 17, 2018, file photo, Houston Astros Senior Director of Baseball Operations Brandon Taubman attends a baseball news conference in Houston. The Astros have fired Taubman for directing inappropriate comments at female reporters following Houston’s pennant-winning victory over the New York Yankees.

On Oct. 19, the Houston Astros beat the New York Yankees, securing their spot in the 2019 World Series. However, Brandon Taubman, the team’s former assistant general manager, responded to the win by yelling multiple times in the direction of three female reporters, one of whom was said to have been wearing a domestic violence awareness bracelet.

Taubman said, “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f—–g glad we got Osuna!”

What makes this passionate expression troublesome is the player Taubman was referring to—Roberto Osuna, who had been accused of domestic violence in May of 2018. He was suspended for 75 games and then returned to the MLB as a closer for the Astros.

Taubman’s words were thoughtless, especially considering the initial backlash the Astros received when Osuna first joined the team. Because the team went to great lengths to rectify the iffy reputation they had received—namely pledging $300,000 towards projects working against domestic violence—you’d think they’d be quick to rebuke Taubman for his words, but alas, the team rallied behind the assistant G.M. and added fuel to the already smoldering fire that is their reputation.

Midday Thursday Taubman was fired, and the team voiced regret for their initial stance on the situation.

This was the right move, but an even better move would have been to hand out repercussions before multiple news sources had to tell them what Taubman did was wrong, and not just a mistake.

Therein lies the issue; his words were not a mistake, they were a direct message to the reporters who were upset the Astros chose Osuna in the first place after the domestic violence allegations. Taubman’s words were a taunt to those reporters and, even further, they were a taunt towards people everywhere that live with the fact that their abusers may very well come out of the situation unscathed.

This isn’t even about Osuna anymore, though. That’s a whole other ballgame.

The problem I currently have is with Taubman, and Taubman alone. He desired to run his own team one day, and his own words have made it so he may not ever do so. How could he think, even in the wake of the biggest win the Astros have had all season, that a remark of that nature would go unnoticed? How could he believe, even after issuing a half-hearted apology, that people would continue to stand behind him? Is it ignorance, privilege or just sheer stupidity?

Additionally, he put the Astros’ image in a very difficult position. None of my teams had the honor of making it to the World Series, so I must decide who to support as the end of the season comes close. I would be inclined to root for the Astros, but this situation has left a bad taste in my mouth, and my allegiance may now lie with the Nationals—I do love a good underdog story. For this reason alone, the Astros should’ve taken the allegations of the original story seriously, if not on the basis of sheer decency toward other human beings.

Thinking before you speak is basic human decency, and when you’re in a position of power, such as being an assistant general manager to a major sports team, the need to be attentive to your words grows dramatically.

So to you, Brandon Taubman, be better, think more and speak more kindly—and tell the Astros that they have you to thank for the lack of support they’ll receive as the World Series finishes.

To the Astros, thank you for firing him, but next time, don’t be so slow to home plate.

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