UPDATED, 4:45 PM: Cincinnati Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman has been suspended from working Reds and Fox’s NFL broadcasts. The punishments come amid an outcry over an anti-gay slur he uttered on an open mic during his call of a Reds game on Wednesday night.
Brennaman sent a letter to the editor at The Cincinnati Enquirer on Thursday apologizing for his slur:
“As many of you know, I said something hateful on the air Wednesday night, something no one should ever say. Something that no one should ever think. Something that no one should ever feel. Something no one should ever hear.
“I could to try to explain it or tell you about who I am and what I believe, but those things would all be excuses. The simple fact is, what I said was wrong.
“I used a word that is both offensive and insulting. In the past 24 hours, I have read about its history; I had no idea it was so rooted in hate and violence and am particularly ashamed that I, someone who makes his living by the use of words, could be so careless and insensitive. It’s a word that should have no place in my vocabulary and I will certainly never utter it again.
“I cannot erase what I have done. The only thing I can do is humbly apologize, accept the consequences of my actions and resolve to be better and behave differently from now on.
“To the LGBTQ+ community – I am truly and deeply sorry. You should never be denigrated with crude and hateful language. I failed you, and I cannot say enough how sorry I am.”
Fox Sports Ohio also issued this statement late Wednesday:
“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.
“Fox Sports is extremely disappointed with Thom Brennaman’s remarks during Wednesday’s Cincinnati Reds telecast. The language used was abhorrent, unacceptable, and not representative of the values of Fox Sports. As it relates to Brennaman’s Fox NFL role, we are moving forward with our NFL schedule which will not include him/”
Reds reliever Amir Garrett tweeted out an address to the LGBTQ community:
“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,” Garrett wrote.
Cincinnati Councilman Chris Seelbach, the city’s first openly gay councilman, wrote on Twitter that Brennaman is “anti-LGBTQ+.”
“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. “The Reds have been proud supporters of their LGBTQ+ fans, and this language cannot be tolerated. Period.”
UPDATED with Reds comment: Longtime Cincinnati Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman was heard using an anti-gay slur on Wednesday during the broadcast of Cincinnati’s game against the Kansas City Royals and later in the game was pulled off the air and suspended by the organization.
Brennaman was picked up by a microphone after the Fox Sports Ohio broadcast returned from a commercial break before the top of the seventh inning in the first game of a doubleheader. The 56-year-old Brennaman, a veteran play-by-play announcer, was seemingly not aware that he was on the air. (See video of the moment below.)
He later exited the broadcast booth during the second game of the doubleheader and begged for forgiveness after video of the incident went up on social media and reaction trended.
“I made a comment earlier tonight that, I guess, went out over the air, that I am deeply ashamed of,” Brennaman said during the fifth inning. “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. I pride myself and think of myself as a man of faith. … I don’t know if I’ll be putting on this headset again. I don’t know if it’ll 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 that sign my paycheck — for the Reds, for Fox Sports Ohio, for the people I work with, for anybody I’ve offended tonight. I can’t begin to tell you how deeply sorry I am. That is not who I am, it never has been. I’d like to think that I have some people that could back that up. I am very, very sorry and I beg for your forgiveness.
“Jim Day will take you the rest of the way,” Brennaman said, referring to another Fox Sports Ohio broadcaster.
The Reds said in a statement that they were “devastated by the horrific, homophobic remark” and that Brennaman was suspended effective immediately. The team said it will be “addressing our broadcasting team in the coming days.”
Brennaman has called major league games for 33 years, 27 of them with Fox Sports. He is the son of Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman.
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