By: Zachary Draves
The World Series is in play, but instead of going for glory, the Houston Astros are heading for infamy.
Whether they win or lose, (hard to win after losing the first two games at home to the Nationals) their postseason journey will forever be tainted by the actions and attitudes of general manager Brandon Taubman.
The story began after the Astros won the ALCS against the New York Yankees on October 19th.
During their team celebration in the Astros clubhouse, Taubman unleashed a profanity-laced tired towards three female reporters, bragging about acquiring relief pitcher Roberto Osuna.
Osuna was signed to the Astros last season as he was serving a 75 game suspension for a domestic violence incident.
Taubman hollered “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f—ing glad we got Osuna”
This version of events was backed up by Sports Illustrated report Stephanie Apstein who was in the room.
Taubman also previously complained about a tweet that one of the reporters has sent out in which she provided domestic violence hotlines.
That same reporter was wearing a purple bracelet, in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which happens to be in October, during Taubman’s tirade.
The reaction was swift and a call for an apology for the Astros organization was denied.
They issued a statement refusing to take any sort of accountability, unable to condemn Taubman’s behavior, not offering support to survivors of domestic violence, and apologize to the reporters that were present.
Just as bad, they completely discredited Apstein’s reporting.
Taubman himself issued a non-apology apology, where he spoke about his family and his reputation being tarnished as if he was the victim, which cannot be more pathetic.
Ultimately, Taubman was fired, but one with an ounce of decency and common sense can see that it was more about protecting the Astros organization, then what he actually did.
There are a couple of things to take away from this particular manner, the need for the sports world to take domestic violence seriously and about equal treatment of female reporters.
Major League Baseball and all sports league have to do a better job at combating domestic violence and stop rewarding players with contracts and a shot at World Series heroics that have a history of violent behavior.
To the MLB’s credit, they have a policy in place that suspends players who have engaged in abusive behavior towards their female partners, even without if the players are not criminally convicted.
However, that doesn’t mean that the league is off the hook.
Creating an environment where players such as Osuna can be granted unrestrained permission to play is shamefully all too common.
The league needs to step up to the plate so to speak and create better policies and better accountability.
Among the things that can be done are highlighted in Ryan Fagan’s article for the Sporting News https://www.sportingnews.com/us/mlb/news/mlbs-punishments-for-domestic-violence-must-include-playoff-bans-team-penalties/13vwnlzwsqys91nbsyrxq8ynhx
Those include a postseason ban and deterring teams from signing players with a history of domestic violence.
Incentives that should be in place is that there needs to be more prevention efforts mixed with accountability.
In other words, anyone suspended due to domestic violence should have a percentage of their salary donated to domestic violence shelters and organizations and become active in prevention education programs, particularly towards other men on addressing accountability and how to redefine manhood to a definition that respects and promotes the rights of women and girls.
Players, management, and ownership should all be involved.
Finally, this incident sheds light on the still toxic environment that many women experience while in the clubhouse.
They were doing their job and yet there are still these hostile attitudes on the part of men in positions of power.
Even in the #Metoo era, much more work has to be done to create a safe environment.
Part of that includes teams as a whole educating themselves on the history of sexism in sports in particular sports media.
A great resource is ESPN’s Nine for IX documentary Let Them Wear Towels that talks about this issue.
Also, enforce corrective and disciplinary actions to all who engage in degrading behaviors towards female reporters.
So much went wrong with this entire saga and we cannot let the glamorous spectacle of the World Series distract us.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship and/or situation and are in need of a safe outlet, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or log on to https://www.thehotline.org/