HOUSTON — "I am not a cheater."
Those were former Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow's words after he was fired in the wake of Major League Baseball's sign-stealing investigation into the Houston baseball team.
Hours after the news broke, Luhnow issued a statement regarding the findings.
Luhnow and former manager A.J. Hinch were both fired Monday by team owner Jim Crane after MLB determined the Astros used a complex sign-stealing system during the 2017 season. Hinch also issued a statement on the matter.
MLB suspended Hinch and Luhnow for the 2020 season, fined the Houston Astros $5 million and took away Houston's 1st and 2nd-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021.
No Astros players are being punished even though most position players on the 2017 team participated in some way, according to MLB's report.
Investigators interviewed 68 witnesses including 23 current and former Astros players. They also reviewed tens of thousands of emails, Slack communications, text messages, video clips and photographs.
Luhnow issued his statement hours after the news broke.
In the statement, Luhnow says he accepts responsibility for the rules violations that happened under his watch.
Luhnow apologized to the Astros organization, Astros fans and the Houston community for the "shame and embarrassment" the scandal has caused.
"I am not a cheater," the statement continued as Luhnow said he didn't know rules were being broken.
"As the Commissioner set out in his statement, I did not personally direct, oversee or engage in any misconduct: The sign-stealing initiative was not planned or directed by baseball management; the trash-can banging was driven and executed by players, and the video decoding of signs originated and was executed by lower-level employees working with the bench coach. I am deeply upset that I wasn't informed of any misconduct because I would have stopped it," Luhnow's statement reads.
Luhnow goes on to say he agrees with Crane's statements that the team achieved "far more positives beyond this significant negative." He said the Astros employ many very good people and that he is "extremely proud of the many executives throughout the industry who were trained and promoted in our department."
Hinch also released a statement after he was fired.
In it, he said he regrets being connected to the events and accepts his suspension.
"While the evidence consistently showed I didn’t endorse or participate in the sign-stealing practices, I failed to stop them and I am deeply sorry," Hinch's statement said.
Hinch went on to apologize to Crane, the fans and the team.
Hinch said his support for the Astros will continue and he wishes the best in the future.
Here is Hinch's full statement:
“I appreciate Commissioner Manfred‘s unwavering commitment to upholding the best interests of baseball. I regret being connected to these events, am disappointed in our club‘s actions within this timeline, and I accept the Commissioner’s decision.
"As a leader and Major League Manager, it is my responsibility to lead players and staff with integrity that represents the game in the best possible way. While the evidence consistently showed I didn’t endorse or participate in the sign-stealing practices, I failed to stop them and I am deeply sorry.
"I apologize to Mr. Crane for all negative reflections this may have had on him and the Astros organization. To the fans, thank you for your continued support through this challenging time - and for this team. I apologize to all of you for our mistakes but I’m confident we will learn from it - and I personally commit to work tirelessly to ensure I do.
"My time in Houston has provided some of the greatest moments in my career and those memories will always be near and dear to me and my family. I regret that my time with the Astros has ended, but will always be a supporter of the club, players, and staff I’ve had the privilege of working alongside. I wish them the best in the future of the game I love.”