Astros fire executive over domestic violence taunts

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Washington (AFP)

The Houston Astros have fired an executive who taunted a group of female reporters about a member of the team who had been banned for domestic violence, the baseball franchise announced Thursday.

In a statement, the Astros said the team had sacked assistant general manager Brandon Taubman after an investigation found he had targeted one or more journalists during a bizarre locker room rant last Saturday.

"We have terminated Brandon Taubman's employment with the Houston Astros," the team said.

"His conduct does not reflect the values of our organisation and we believe this is the most appropriate course of action."

Taubman had admitted yelling support for relief pitcher Roberto Osuna as the Astros celebrated beating the New York Yankees to win the American League crown.

According to Sports Illustrated, Taubman had turned, unprompted, to the women -- one of whom was wearing a domestic violence awareness bracelet -- and yelled six times: "Thank God we got Osuna. I'm so fucking glad we got Osuna."

Another Astros team staffer later apologised to the women for the rant.

Taubman had reportedly clashed with one of the reporters in the past over the Astros' controversial recruitment of Osuna.

The 24-year-old pitcher was suspended for 75 games in 2018 after allegedly assaulting the mother of his child. He was later signed by the Astros from the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Astros, who are 2-0 down in the World Series against the Washington Nationals, had initially issued a strident defense of Taubman's conduct, insisting that the executive had merely been voicing support for Osuna after a shaky performance.

The Astros first statement also slammed Sports Illustrated journalist Stephanie Apstein's account of the exchange as "misleading and completely irresponsible."

However in their statement announcing Taubman's sacking on Tuesday, the Astros said further interviews as part of Major League Baseball's investigation had revealed the truth of what happened.

"Our initial investigation led us to believe that Brandon Taubman's inappropriate comments were not directed toward any reporter," the team said.

"We were wrong. We sincerely apologise to Stephanie Apstein, Sports Illustrated and to all individuals who witnessed this incident or were offended by the inappropriate conduct.

"The Astros in no way intended to minimise the issues related to domestic violence.

"Our initial belief was based on witness statements about the incident. Subsequent interviews have revealed that Taubman's inappropriate comments were, in fact, directed toward one or more reporters."