Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman used an anti-gay slur on air during Cincinnati’s game Wednesday night and later left the broadcast after apologizing.
Brennaman used the slur moments after the Fox Sports Ohio feed returned from a commercial break before the top of the seventh inning in the first game of a doubleheader at Kansas City. He did not seem to realize he was already on air when the microphone caught him saying “one of the fag capitals of the world” in reference to an unknown location.
The 56-year-old Brennaman remained on air in the second game until the top of the fifth inning, when he spoke directly to the camera before handing off play-by-play duties:
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.
Brennaman paused during his remarks to announce a home run by Cincinnati’s Nick Castellanos.
Major League Baseball was aware of the incident but did not have an immediate comment. In a statement late Wednesday night, the Reds said they were “devastated by the horrific, homophobic remark”, adding Brennaman “was pulled off the air, and effective immediately was suspended from doing Reds broadcasts”.
Reds reliever Amir Garrett tweeted about Brennaman’s words shortly after the end of the second game:
“To the LGBTQ community just know I am with you, and whoever is against you, is against me,” he wrote. “I’m sorry for what was said today.”
Brennaman and the Reds announcers were working from Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, even though the doubleheader against the Royals was in Kansas City. Remote broadcasts have become the norm in the baseball this year because of coronavirus protocols.
The son of Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman, Thom has called major league games for 33 years and has been with Fox Sports for the past 27, covering primarily baseball and football.
“I can’t begin to tell you how deeply sorry I am,” Brennaman said. “That is not who I am and never has been. I like to think maybe I could have some people who can back that up. I am very, very sorry and I beg for your forgiveness.”
Broadcast partner Chris Welsh told Brennaman: “You’re a good man, partner. Hang in there.”
Alternate play-by-play man Jim Day took over the broadcast.