Jenn Sterger: Astros Gaslight Female Employees With Controversial Statement

Tim Kelly
October 22, 2019 - 3:17 pm

Tuesday evening, Houston Astros RHP Gerrit Cole will oppose Washington Nationals RHP Max Scherzer in Game 1 of the World Series, marking one of the best matchups in World Series history.

Unfortunately, much of the discussion Tuesday has revolved around a much more serious matter.

Stephanie Apstein of Sports Illustrated published a piece Monday evening outlining how Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman screamed “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f------ glad we got Osuna!” at a group of female reporters in the clubhouse after the Astros won the American League pennant last Saturday.

Roberto Osuna, the Astros closer, had blown the save that would have sent the Astros to the World Series in the top of the ninth. Ultimately, Astros second baseman Jose Altuve launched a walk-off home run in home half of the ninth to send the Astros to the World Series for the second time in three years.

Osuna served a 75-game suspension for domestic violence just last season. Though he was suspended while a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, Osuna was acquired by the Astros before his suspension concluded. The trade was met with criticisms from those that suggested that the Astros were putting trying to win a World Series ahead of doing what was right.

In terms of optics, a high-ranking executive screaming at a group of female reporters about how great of a trade the team made to acquire a pitcher that was previously suspended for domestic violence is about as bad as it gets.

The Astros, though, released an initial statement condemning the Sports Illustrated story.

"The story posted by Sports Illustrated is misleading and completely irresponsible. An Astros player was being asked questions about a difficult outing. Our executive was supporting his player in a difficult time. His comments had everything to do with the game situation that had just occurred and nothing else - they were also not directed towards any specific reporters. We are extremely disappointed in Sports Illustrated's attempt to fabricate a story where one does not exist."

The Astros statement was nearly universally panned.

On Tuesday's edition of Swings & Mrs., Jenn Sterger told her husband, Cody Decker, that while she values his thoughts, this issue hit home with her in a personal way.

"I appreciate your opinion, and I'm sure you've got one, but it's different coming from a female perspective, because while you guys can have opinions on this, this is an opinion that I live. This is an opinion that women everywhere live. Women who work in sports are subject to this all the time. They're subject to death threats - not from fans, but from within the sports world itself. Our jobs are constantly at risk. We are constantly being made to feel like we don't belong there. So a statement like this being made, it just doubles down on this. They are essentially gaslighting female employees, that are just trying to do their job. They are gaslighting any woman who has having been a victim of domestic violence by putting out a statement like that."

The 36-year-old Sterger was a victim of sexual harassment in 2008.

This afternoon, the Astros released a second statement on the incident, which included statements from Taubman and Astros owner Jim Crane.

"This past Saturday, during our clubhouse celebration, I used inappropriate language for which I am deeply sorry and embarrassed," Taubman said. "In retrospect, I realize that my comments were unprofessional and inappropriate. My overexuberance in support of a player has been misinterpreted as a demonstration of a regressive attitude about an important social issue. Those that know me know that I am a progressive and charitable member of the community, and loving and committed husband and father. I hope that those who know me understand that the Sports Illustrated article does not reflect who I am or my values. I am sorry if anyone was offended by my actions."

"The Astros continue to be committed to using our voice to create awareness and support on the issue of domestic violence," said Crane, who has owned the team since November of 2011. "We not only ensure mandatory training annually for all of our employees, we have also created an important partnership with the Texas Council on Family Violence, and have raised $300,000 through our initiatives to help agencies providing important support for this cause. We fully support MLB and baseball's stance regarding domestic violence."

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