Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow commented for the first time on the controversy dogging the team after Sports Illustrated published an article slamming an Astros executive for comments he made about pitcher Roberto Osuna.
Luhnow went on "The Sean Salisbury Show" on Houston sports radio station SportsTalk 790 Wednesday to discuss the team's Game 1 loss and Game 2 strategy during the World Series. During the interview, Salisbury asked him about what he called "the elephant in the room" — the Sports Illustrated article that claimed the Astros were glossing over past accusations of domestic violence against Osuna.
The Monday article claimed that while the Astros were celebrating their win of the American League Championship Series, assistant general manager Brandon Taubman had an "offensive and frightening" outburst during which the magazine said he "turned to a group of three female reporters, including one wearing a purple domestic-violence awareness bracelet, and yelled, half a dozen times, 'Thank God we got (Roberto) Osuna! I'm so f------ glad we got Osuna." Taubman has since apologized for the use of "inappropriate language," which he said was misinterpreted.
Lunhow previously declined to comment on the controversy and spoke for the first time about it on Salisbury's show.
"You know, Brandon has apologized for inappropriate behavior and I think from my perspective clearly something happened that he regrets," he said. "What we really don't know is the intent behind the comments that he made — the inappropriate comments — and we may never know that because the person who said them and the people who heard them, at least up to this point, have very different perspectives."
Lunhow said Major League Baseball will now interview everyone involved, a move that he welcomes. Beyond that, Lunhow said he wanted to withhold comment until the investigative process would be complete.
"I do want to apologize to everybody involved and to our fans and to our players," Lunhow said. "This is a really special time for our organization, and we really want to be playing the World Series and talking about baseball and celebrating a historic season."
With the larger issue of domestic violence, Lunhow said his organization takes it "very seriously" and has worked hard to raise awareness and fund groups that help victims of domestic violence.
"We want anybody who interacts with our organization to feel comfortable, feel respected, and clearly that was not the case in the celebration after the Yankees victory," he said. "We can do better, we will do better and at this point, we'll wait to see what comes out of the interviews that MLB does."
The Astros had previously issued a statement denying the accuracy of the Sports Illustrated article, to which the magazine issued a statement standing behind the reporter and her account of the exchange. Other journalists, including the Houston Chronicle's Hunter Atkins, tweeted that they could confirm such a conversation did indeed take place in the way it was portrayed.