The Baseball Writers Association of America released a statement on Tuesday calling for the Astros to issue a public apology to Sports Illustrated following the team's accusation that reporter Stephanie Apstein "[attempted] to fabricate a story."
The BBWAA's statement comes one day after Apstein reported that Astros assistant GM Brandon Taubman shouted comments about closer Roberto Osuna at a group of three female reporters following the team's win on Saturday night to clinch the American League pennant. Taubman repeatedly said "Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f------ glad we got Osuna!"
Osuna was arrested in May 2018 on domestic violence charges while playing for the Blue Jays. The charges were dropped but MLB suspended Osuna for 75 games for violating its domestic violence policy. Houston acquired him in a trade shortly before his suspension ended.
"The Baseball Writers Association of America is alarmed and dismayed by the actions of the Houston Astros and their public relations department in reaction to Sports Illustrated's report on Oct. 21, regarding post-game comments made by assistant GM Brandon Taubman directed at reporters," the BBWAA said in a statement.
"The Astros' initial denial of the incident reported by SI was an unethical and intentional fabrication, designed to discredit our members and all journalists.
"The BBWAA is encouraged by MLB's decision to investigate this matter and will fully cooperate. We expect that appropriate disciplinary measures will be handed out and made public.
"Also, a public apology to the media outlets involved – particularly Stephanie Apstein, Sports Illustrated, and the BBWAA – should be forthcoming from the Astros, [Owner and Chairman] Jim Crane, [Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications] Anita Sehgal, [Vice President, Media Relations] Gene Dias and Brandon Taubman."
After SI published Apstein's report on Monday, the Astros released a statement calling it an "attempt to fabricate a story where one does not exist."
Sports Illustrated said on Tuesday that it "unequivocally stands behind Apstein, her reporting and the story."
On Tuesday, Taubman issued a statement apologizing for his comments on Osuna.
"In retrospect, I realized that my comments were unprofessional and inappropriate," Taubman said in the statement. "My overexuberance in support of a player has been misinterpreted as a demonstration of a regressive attitude about an important social issue."
Major League Baseball plans to investigate the clubhouse incident reported by Apstein and will interview those involved before commenting further.