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Houston Matters

How Do We Decide Who Deserves A Second Chance?

When public figures, like the Astros’ Roberto Osuna, are accused of wrongdoing, should they never work again – or do some deserve another shot?

Houston Astros relief pitcher Roberto Osuna is interviewed in the dugout before a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018. Osuna served a 75-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy.


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The recent upheaval over the Astros' acquisition of relief pitcher Roberto Osuna is one of the latest examples of a public figure vying for a second chance in the wake of a scandal.

Osuna was traded from the Toronto Blue Jays, and, at the time, he was completing a 75-game suspension for a domestic violence incident that occurred back in May. Because the matter is being handled by Canadian courts, we don't know a lot about what exactly he's been accused of. And the Astros caught a lot of flack from the public, who pointed to the team's zero-tolerance policy related to abuse. General manager Jeff Luhnow has said he was "confident that Osuna is remorseful."

In the era of the #MeToo movement, we've seen a lot of prominent celebrities and public figures ousted from their jobs because of sexual assault accusations or worse. And it's easy to think the likes of Matt Lauer or Kevin Spacey might never work again. But, at least in the past, there have been plenty of examples of celebrities and athletes who made a comeback – just sometimes after a long hiatus or even jail time.

So, as a society, how do we decide who should get a second chance and who should never work again? Does someone like Osuna deserve another shot? And what can public figures involved in scandals do to rehabilitate their public image?

In the audio above, Dr. Creshema Murray, assistant professor of corporate communication at the University of Houston-Downtown, and Emilee Whitehurst, CEO of the Houston Area Women’s Center, talk it over with Houston Matters host Craig Cohen.