Astros owner writes apology letter to reporter over taunts

Washington (AFP) –


Houston Astros owner Jim Crane has sent an apology letter to Sports Illustrated reporter Stephanie Apstein and retracted his team's claim that she sought to fabricate a story about a since-fired executive.

Apstein shared the letter in a Twitter posting Sunday afternoon as the Astros were preparing to play the Washington Nationals in game five of the World Series, with Major League Baseball's final deadlocked at 2-2.

Apstein's Sports Illustrated story on Monday detailed Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman taunting three female reporters in the team locker room on October 19 as they celebrated reaching the World Series.

At the heart of the story was Roberto Osuna, the Mexican closing relief ace the Astros obtained from Toronto while he was serving a 75-game ban for domestic violence.

Among the reporters targeted for the rant was one wearing a domestic-violence awareness bracelet.

A statement from the Astros after the story was published called it "misleading and completely irresponsible" and claiming she tried "to fabricate a story."

Crane backed off that team statement on Sunday.

"On behalf of the entire Astros organization, I want to personally apologize for the statement we issued on Monday October 21st," Crane wrote.

"We were wrong and I am sorry that we initially questioned your professionalism. We retract that statement and I assure you that the Houston Astros will learn from this experience."

MLB investigators flew to Houston to interview witnesses and the Astros fired Taubman on Thursday.