Reds Broadcaster Thom Brennaman Suspended over Anti-gay Slur on Hot Mic
A longtime broadcaster for the Cincinnati Reds was suspended Wednesday after using an anti-gay slur on a hot mic during a game against the Kansas City Royals.
Thom Brennaman, a broadcaster and play-by-play announcer for Fox Sports Ohio, used the slur while preparing to introduce the team’s pregame show.
During the fifth inning, Brennaman apologized for the comment and said he was “deeply ashamed of it.”
“If I have hurt anyone out there I can’t tell you how much I say from the bottom of my heart I am so very, very sorry,” he said.
Brennaman also acknowledged the uncertain fate of his job.
“I don’t know if I’ll be putting on this headset again,” he said. “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 for 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.”
Shortly afterward, the Reds announced his suspension.
“The Cincinnati Reds organization is devastated by the horrific, homophobic remark made this evening by broadcaster Thom Brennaman,” the statement said. “He was pulled off the air, and effective immediately was suspended from doing Reds broadcasts.”
The Reds “will be addressing our broadcast team in coming days,” the statement said, adding that the organization has a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination.
“In no way does this incident represent our players, coaches, organization, or our fans,” the statement said. “We share our sincerest apologies to the LGBTQ+ community in Cincinnati, Kansas City, all across this country, and beyond.”
Brennaman’s father, Marty Brennaman, a former broadcaster and play-by-play announcer for the Reds, told the Cincinnati Enquirer on Wednesday that the language heard on the air doesn’t represent his son.
“As a dad, I hurt for him,” Marty Brennaman said. “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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Marty Brennaman said “an open mic is the biggest enemy you have.”
“The worst feeling in the world, if you’re not on the air, is that you say something and you hear it coming back into your headset,” he said.
Chris Seelbach, the first openly gay person elected to Cincinnati’s city council, condemned Brennaman’s comments Wednesday night on Twitter.
“The Brennaman family are Cincinnati sports icons with a powerful voice in our community, which makes it even more disgusting and totally unprofessional to hear such language used,” Seelbach wrote.
“It’s incredibly disappointing to hear Mr. Brennaman use such language of hate when our country is begging for unity,” the councilman said.
Fox Sports Ohio didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
MLB responded to a request for comment by referring NBC News to the Reds statement.