Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said the organization was wrong for issuing its initial statement following assistant general manager Brandon Taubman's clubhouse outburst during the team's American League title celebration.
Speaking to reporters hours after Taubman's firing, Luhnow admitted that the Astros' original statement "should have never been sent" but declined to reveal who wrote or approved it.
"That original reaction by the Astros was wrong, and we own it as an organization," Luhnow said. "There were many people involved in reviewing that and approving that, and I'm not going to get into the details of that. It was wrong. It was the Astros' decision."
On Monday, Sports Illustrated's Stephanie Apstein reported that Taubman shouted "Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f------ glad we got Osuna!" at three female reporters in the Astros' clubhouse following their Game 6 victory on Saturday night to clinch the American League pennant. Multiple outlets—including the Houston Chronicle and Yahoo! Sports—corroborated SI's reporting.
After the publication of Apstein's story, the Astros released a statement calling it an "attempt to fabricate a story where one does not exist."
Luhnow said that, before the initial statement was issued, only Taubman and another Astros employee were spoken to for their perspective.
The Baseball Writers Association of America released a statement demanding that the Astros issue a public apology for falsely accusing Apstein.
The Astros fired Taubman on Thursday, apologizing to "Apstein, Sports Illustrated and to all individuals who witnessed this incident or were offended by the inappropriate conduct."
"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," the team said in a statement. "Accordingly, we have terminated Brandon Taubman's employment with the Houston Astros. His conduct does not reflect the values of our organization and we believe this is the most appropriate course of action."
Luhnow said he had not yet reached out to Apstein or the other reporters who witnessed the incident but that it was "devastating" to learn what really happened.
"I wouldn’t wish it on anyone in this room, just like I wouldn’t wish it on anyone in this room to sit up here and answer these questions either," he said.
Luhnow added that the Astros decided on Wednesday to take action against Taubman unilaterally ahead of MLB's decision, and that Taubman's behavior was "out of character."
"This is not a cultural issue," Luhnow said. "We have a lot of really good people in our front office, our coaching staff, and our team."
MLB announced on Tuesday it would launch an investigation into the comments made by Taubman and interview those involved.