At this point the Houston Astros need to shut up and go away.

The fact they are in the World Series is an afterthought compared to the controversy they find themselves in because of their own poor decision and just plain ignorance and intolerance.

It all started in 2018 when they signed a pitcher, Roberto Osuna, who was serving a 75-game suspension for domestic violence.

That decision and the decision to put player performance ahead of morals has come back to bite them again and again.

After clinching a berth in the World Series their assistant general manger Brandon Taubman screamed at female reporters that he was so glad they signed Osuna. One reporter, Stephanie Apstein, had been outspoken in her opinion the signing sent the wrong message. She also was wearing a purple domestic violence awareness bracelet.

When Apstein wrote a story for Sports Illustrated on the incident, the Astros released a statement refuting the story and calling the reporter a liar.

They did not claim the comment was taken out of contest. They did not claim there was an error in reporting. They claimed the story as fabricated.

When several people stepped forward supporting the reporter and her story, the team issued a second statement, this time from Taubman, who apologized for his language, not what he said.

As the story grew and grew and Major League Baseball began investigating, the Astros finally fired the assistant general manager.

However, General Manager Jeff Luhnow made it worse.

When he finally got around to apologizing he made it known how hard it was to sit at a press conference and answer questions about the issue. He turned it into a pity party for himself.

And he continued to bury himself. He was asked if he had personally apologized to Apstein. He said no because he was busy and hadn’t had time. She was sitting in the room. Not only should he have reached out to her immediately after finding out she wasn’t lying, he should have asked if she was in the press corps covering his press conference and apologized to her. Disgusting.

Right now there are public relation firms using this as a teaching moment on how not to handle a messy situation.

At the heart of this is the fact the Astros signed Osuna because he is a good pitcher, ignoring his history of domestic violence.

They also continued to employ Taubman despite his past conflict with the reporter. He did not like her stories against the signing of Osuna.

The Astros have traded morals and values for a chance at championships. I don’t know how anyone can look at them the same way again.

Even their fans must find it hard to stomach all this. This may not directly involve all the players, but the controversy around the team does. They have to answer questions for the actions of the front office.

We still live in a world where no matter what you do, you will be forgiven if you perform.

We still live in a world in which women are marginalized.

We must do better.

 

Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.