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20 August 2020 20:30

Cincinnati Reds Kansas City Royals Thom Brennaman

Reds' broadcaster Thom Brennaman uses anti-LGBTQ slur on air, issues apology

Cincinnati Reds television broadcaster Thom Brennaman. An announcer for one of the US' top baseball teams, Cincinnati Reds, issued a grovelling apology Wednesday (19 August) after he used a homophobic slur live on-air. For the last 16 years, Thom Brennaman has been a regular sight for Major League Baseball fans, but left many "devastated" after using the slur after an advertisement break ended. The 56-year-old used the slur after the Fox Sports Ohio feed returned from the break before the top of the seventh inning in the first game of a doubleheader at Kansas City, ESPN reported. Broadcaster of nearly two decades Thom Brennaman calls Kansas City as 'one of the fag capitals of the world'.

While on the hot mic and appearing to be unaware he was live, Brennaman referred to Kansas City as "one of the fag capitals of the world". Brennaman was swiftly suspended and taken off the feed in the fifth inning of the second game – handing over to fellow play-by-play man Jim Day – before apologising. "I made a comment earlier tonight that I guess went out over the air that I am deeply ashamed of," he said during the remote broadcast made from Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. "I don't know if I'm going to be putting on this headset again," he added, acknowledging his remark would like face reprisal from his employer. His comment drew intense criticism from sports pundits as well as Cincinnati Reds and Fox Sports Ohio.

"The Cincinnati Reds organisation is devastated by the horrific, homophobic remark made this evening by broadcaster Thom Brennaman," the team said in a statement shared to ESPN. "He was pulled off the air, and effective immediately was suspended from doing Reds broadcasts. "We share our sincerest apologies to the LGBT+ community in Cincinnati, Kansas City, all across this country, and beyond. This was amplified by Fox Sports Ohio, which issued a statement agreeing with the move to suspend Brennaman and described his remark as "hateful, offensive and in no way reflects the values" of the network. I've stared at a blank screen for more than an hour now because I should write about the Reds' play-by-play man using a horrible slur on the air, but, really what is left to say after you've watched the two videos you've probably seen by now?

The first video being Brennaman using the slur while thinking he was off the air. The second video had Brennaman offering a weak apology while looking visibly shook. Are we supposed to believe this was the first time Brennaman used the slur in his 56 years on earth after seeing that video? I reached out to Fox for a comment on Brennaman's status for the 2020 NFL season, but have not heard back. If Fox decides to part ways with Brennaman, the network has an in-house replacement that could make most viewers happy.

4. MLB prevented Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer from wearing "Free Joe Kelly" cleats Wednesday night. 6. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: As I told Keith Hernandez on this week's SI Media Podcast, no scene in the history of Seinfeld made me laugh harder than George running out of the bathroom screaming, "SAY VANDELAY INDUSTRIES" at the end of "The Boyfriend." 7. SPORTS VIDEO OF THE DAY: I meant to post this last week when Steve Levy was officially named Monday Night Football's new play-by-play man, but forgot. Last night, if you were watching the Cincinnati Reds or if you were on Twitter, you heard announcer Thom Brennaman say a homophobic slur. Then about two hours later, as he was pulled off the broadcast of Wednesday's doubleheader, Brennaman explained that he is not the kind of person who says homophobic slurs.

Brennaman was going to be hard-pressed to give a good apology. First and foremost because he is quite evidently is the kind of person who uses such slurs in a professional setting. And because he's the kind of person who refers to LGBTQ people using hurtful slurs at all. Intending to censor his bigotry from the broadcast but not his coworkers merely presents its own set of follow-up questions: Does Brennaman habitually perpetuate a hostile workplace or is this kind of language broadly condoned by the culture at Fox Sports Ohio? I don't think it's too much of an assumption to conclude that he might also engage in casual homophobia when he's not wearing a headset. Over the course of the on-air apology, Brennaman found time to call a home run and update the score but not to say "homophobia," "homosexuality," "LGBTQ," or "gay." He mentions that he is a "man of faith," but fails to connect that to the issue at hand in any way (and without any elaboration, frankly, Christianity's historic treatment of LGBTQ people makes it seem more defensive than contrite). After Reds announcer Thom Brennaman uttered a gay slur on air Wednesday, both he and his father — former announcer Marty Brennaman, left — insisted that it didn't reflect who he is. In an interview with The Athletic, Brennaman said, "I'm not that person. That's not who Thom Brennaman is." "What he said is not a reflection of who Thom Brennaman is. I know that's not him," his father, former Reds announcer Marty Brennaman, told the Cincinnati Enquirer. What is Thom Brennaman sorry for if not that he's the kind of person who uses homophobic slurs? Fox Sports Ohio's Thom Brennaman was caught on a hot mic using a vile homophobic slur following during pregame of a Reds game against the Royals on Wednesday night. It led to an on-air apology, and Brennaman being pulled from the broadcast — but this all fails to address the real issue at play. Here's a better video with the full bit of the perceived tHom homophobic comment at around the 2:06 mark of the game. Obviously Brennaman didn't know the mic was hot. Later, when it came time to apologize the broadcaster interrupted his own apology to call a home run. It's clear where his priorities were at the moment — and it wasn't on trying to make amends with the people he marginalized in his comments. Instead of directly addressing his comments, Brennaman's mea culpa was more concerned with telling people at home that he wasn't a homophobic person, and trying to make good with his employers. His words, couched in lazy, predictable language, apologized to "anyone who was offended," as if there's a group of people in the LGBTQ+ community and beyond who don't consider the word he used to be the most hurtful and hate-filled slur available. From the hot mic audio it doesn't sound like Brennaman is joking, or making an off-handed comment. This isn't about trying to "cancel" Thom Brennaman. Had Brennaman's comments never aired it's entirely likely nothing would have ever happened. Sure, this is speculation about the internal workings of Fox Sports Ohio, but considering that Brennaman's replacement on the broadcast Chris Welsh later said on the air "You're a good man, partner. Brennaman had a predictable response to being caught making offensive remarks, he hid behind his faith. "I pride myself and think of myself as a man of faith," Brennaman said, as if attending church on a Sunday meant he couldn't have hate in his heart on a Wednesday. Invoking faith has become a way to hand-wave away offensive comments, a refrain used to try and say to people "I can't really hate people, because I'm religious!" To which over 2,000 years of human history would likely take umbrage. The point is this: If Brennaman is making comments like this with a microphone in front of his face, hot or not, what has he said when there's no risk of being on the air? He said "I don't know if I'll be putting on this headset again," he said in closing his apology. If you are a man of faith like you profess then apologize, sincerely, and from the heart. It might not result in Brennaman broadcasting an MLB game again, but perhaps it will lead to him better understanding why even off-hand remarks can cause so much pain. Major League Baseball side Cincinnati Reds have suspended broadcaster Thom Brennaman after he used an anti-gay slur on air during their game against the Kansas City Royals. Brennaman later apologised during the broadcast and was replaced by Jim Day for the remainder of the game. In a statement, the Reds condemned his use of the slur, saying: "The Cincinnati Reds organization is devastated by the horrific, homophobic remark made this evening by broadcaster Thom Brennaman. "He was pulled off the air, and effective immediately was suspended from doing Reds broadcasts. We share our sincerest apologies to the LGBTQ+ community in Cincinnati, Kansas City, all across this country, and beyond. Apologising for his remark, Brennaman said: "I made a comment earlier tonight, that I guess went out over the air, that I am deeply ashamed of. "I want to apologise 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.