The Astros have, by my count, made five attempts before today to address the Brandon Taubman controversy and they’ve failed to adequately address it all five times.
- First they declined comment when approached by Sports Illustrated before the original publication of the Taubman story which was published on Monday;
- Then, Monday night, after the story was published, they lashed out, falsely accusing Sports Illustrated reporter Stephanie Apstein of fabricating her story;
- The next day, when they realized that there were multiple witnesses corroborating Apstein’s story, they backtracked, with two “sorry if we offended anyone” apologies that did not specifically address either Taubman’s behavior or the smear on Apstein. Nor did they, for that matter, constitute actual apologies given the hypothetical framing;
- Then they fired Taubman which, OK, we’ll accept that as a response to his initial behavior, but then they released a blanket statement saying “we got it wrong” without explaining who the “we” was or the “it” was, leaving the matter of the team statement which smeared Apstein wide open; finally
- Jeff Luhnow appeared before the media last night saying he and many others saw the Monday night statement attacking Apstein’s credibility before it went out, failed to say who, if anyone, would be held accountable for the smear and noting that he had been too busy and had yet to apologize to Apstein in person despite the fact that Apstein was literally sitting in front of him in the press conference.
Earlier this afternoon Evan Drellich’s report at The Athletic touched on another high-ranking Astros employee who likely participated in Monday night’s statement — Anita Sehgal, the team’s senior vice president of marketing and communications — whose name we had not heard in all of this before. Suggesting that, yep, a lot of very senior Astros people, including Jeff Luhnow, were part of the attempted smear-job on Apstein.
Given that, you’d think that someone — anyone — would offer an accounting of that beyond “we got it wrong” and an apology which specifically owns up to exactly what they did and which shows that they appreciate the seriousness of it all.
Maybe the team’s owner, Jim Crane?
Well, you can’t fault them for a lack of consistency.
At this point it’s clear that the buck stops nowhere in Houston. It’s also clear that, going forward, there is no reason whatsoever to take the team’s official statements at face value because, like the Monday night statement, they could very well be lies with ulterior motives. And, if they are, no one will be held accountable for them. If they’re caught they’ll just try to moonwalk away from it like nothing happened.
If not, hey, they got one over on you, didn’t they?
UPDATE: This is now beyond parody: