HOUSTON – Thursday, the Houston Astros fired assistant general manager Brandon Taubman, who had taunted a group of female reporters with "inappropriate comments" about the signing of Robert Osuna, a pitcher accused of domestic violence.
In a report published in Sport Illustrated, sportswriter Stephanie Apstein said Taubman had an "offensive and frightening" outburst during which 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."
Earlier this week, Taubman apologized for the comments that he said were misinterpreted.
The Astros initially denied the exchange had taken place the way it was portrayed in the article but several reporters who were in the vicinity when it happened, including the Houston Chronicle's Hunter Atkins, tweeted that they could confirm the Sports Illustrated reporter's account.
The Astros and Major League Baseball conducted an investigation into the incident and on Thursday, the Astros released a statement apologizing to Apstein and announcing Taubman's termination.
Later that day, Astros General Manager Jeff Lunhow answered questions from the media about the controversy.
Here are nine must-read highlights from the press conference:
Lunhow on Taubman:
"He's been a valuable employee," Lunhow said. "We hired him over five years ago. He's moved up quickly in the organization. He's smart. He's hardworking and this is why these comments he made were out of character. He hasn't had this type of incident before. This is not a repeating pattern of anything which is why it was so easy for, one reason it was so easy for us to believe that it was more innocent than it turned out to be."
Lunhow's reaction to the incident at large:
"It's devastating," Lunhow said. "It's not something I wish on anyone in this room. . . But it's part of life and we learn our lessons from it and Brandon, I'm sure, has learned a lesson and hopefully will never do anything like that again and I think that everybody that observed it has also learned a lesson and we, as an organization, have certainly learned a lesson about taking our time to react and making sure we don't do anything to make the situation worse, because that's essentially what we did."
Lunhow on the Astros' initial reaction to the incident:
"I think when a story comes out that's negative, you have two choices: You either respond immediately if you think it's potentially not true or you wait and figure out what the facts are and then respond," Lunhow said "We made the wrong decision. We responded quickly thinking that it was not true and it turned out that was an incorrect way to go about it."
Lunhow on his role in the initial statement:
"I saw it before it went out, and there's a lot of people who saw it before it went out," Lunhow said.
Lunhow on the Astros' team culture:
"This is not something that's endemic," Lunhow said. "This is not a cultural issue. We have a lot of really good people in our front office, in our coaching staff, on our team and that's really much more representative of who we are than comments of an individual, who quite frankly, this is out of character for this individual as well."
Lunhow on Astros' apology to Sports Illustrated reporter Stephanie Apstein:
"It's for having to witness the incident and it's to the other reporters that were there and anybody who felt offended or that the comments were directed at them, and it certainly was also for the reaction that the Astros had immediately after the article was published, which was inappropriate and wrong, and we apologize for that."
At the time of the press conference Thursday, Lunhow hadn't apologized to Apstein, who was at the presser:
"I have not (apologized)," Lunhow said. "I've been traveling up here. We've been -- I mean, I had to have a pretty tough conversation this morning with some that's worked with me for a long time. But, I will as soon as I can.
Lunhow on possibility of further disciplinary action in incident:
"The person that was responsible for making those inappropriate comments has been terminated from employment with the Astros and that's the action that we've taken at this point," Lunhow said. "I don't know what's going to happen in the future."