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In an apparent hot mic moment, Cincinnati Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman was caught uttering an anti-gay slur between innings on Wednesday. Less than two hours later, he was apologizing and exiting the booth.
By night’s end, the team announced Brennaman was suspended effective immediately, with a further decision on the Reds’ broadcast team due to follow in the coming days.
Fox Sports Ohio has since released a statement saying it agrees with the Reds decision to suspend Brennaman.
The Reds home network says Brennaman’s comment was “hateful, offensive, and in no way reflects the values of Fox Sports Ohio.”
Statement from FOX Sports Ohio:
The language that Thom Brennaman used this evening is hateful, offensive, and in no way reflects the values of FOX Sports Ohio. We agree with the @Reds decision to suspend him until further notice. https://t.co/kL966OW6Gt
— FOX Sports Cincinnati (@FOXSportsCincy) August 20, 2020
Before the seventh inning in Game 1 of Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Kansas City Royals, viewers heard Brennaman calling an unknown area ‘the f-- capital of the world.’ Brennaman did not seem aware he was on the air, and soon started plugging a Reds pregame show on Fox Sports Ohio.
You can see video of the slur here, with the obvious warning that it contains a bit of very NSFW language.
Brennaman apologizes, taken off Reds game
Video of the moment began circulating online between games of the doubleheader. Brennaman stayed to call the second game, with no acknowledgement of the slur even as many started calling for his job on social media. That is, until the fifth inning, at which point Brennaman was removed from the broadcast.
Before making his exit, Brennaman apologized for the slur on the air, only to be interrupted by a Nicholas Castellanos home run.
Thom Brennaman apologized on-air and handed the broadcast off pic.twitter.com/fMXMmQz7Kd
— CJ Fogler #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) August 20, 2020
A transcript of Brennaman’s apology:
“I made a comment earlier tonight, that I guess went out over the air, that I am deeply ashamed of. If I have hurt anyone out there, I can’t tell you how much I say from the bottom of my heart that I am very, very sorry.”
“I pride myself and think of myself as a man of faith, as there is a drive into deep left field by Castellanos. It will be a home run, and so that will make it a 4-0 ballgame. I don’t know if I’m going to be putting on this headset again. I don’t know if it’s going to be for the Reds, I don’t know if it’s going to be for my bosses at Fox. I want to apologize to the people who sign my paycheck, for the Reds, for Fox Sports Ohio, for the people I work with, for anybody that I’ve offended here tonight.
“I can’t begin to tell you how deeply sorry I am. That is not who I am and it never has been. I’d like to think maybe I could have some people that can back that up. I am very, very sorry, and I beg for your forgiveness.”
After the game, Reds reliever Amir Garrett addressed the matter by tweeting a statement of solidarity with the LGBTQ community, and apologized for Brennaman’s language.
To the LGBTQ community just know I am with you, and whoever is against you, is against me. I’m sorry for what was said today.
— CountOnAG (@Amir_Garrett) August 20, 2020
Marty Brennaman comes to son’s defense
Thom Brennaman has been working as a broadcaster for the Reds since 2006. He has called the Reds for both Fox Sports Ohio and their radio network, as well as national baseball games plus football and basketball for Fox. He’s also the son of longtime Reds play-by-play man Marty Brennaman, who will be inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame next summer.
Following the game and the announcement of Thom Brennaman’s suspension, Marty Brennaman told the Cincinnati Enquirer the comments were not reflective of his son’s character.
"As a dad I hurt for him," Marty Brennaman said late Wednesday night. “What he said is not a reflection of who Thom Brennaman is. I know that’s not him. But I also feel terrible for the people the comment offended."
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