On a day filled with playoff basketball, playoff hockey, and a full slate of baseball, Cincinnati Reds’ play-by-play announcer Thom Brennaman stole the headlines when he was caught by a hot mic using a homophobic slur. Brennaman learned of the exposed clip during the Reds‘ game against the Kansas City Royals, and he issued an apology live on air.
Brennaman probably thought the swift apology would save him his job and his reputation, but it only made matters worse for the longtime announcer. Instead of coming off as genuine and heartfelt, Brennaman was only worried about his wallet — and a fifth-inning homer.
Thom Brennaman uttered a homophobic slur live on air
During a doubleheader between the Reds and Royals Wednesday night, Brennaman was caught using an anti-gay slur. A hot mic picked up the slur just seconds before Brennaman went live to announce the Reds’ pregame show.
It’s unclear what conversation led up to the slur being uttered, but Brennaman was describing an unknown city when he used the offensive term. Shortly after, the clip leaked online and fans and media pounced on Brennaman for using hate speech.
By the fifth inning of the ball game, Brennaman learned of the clip going viral. He decided to issue an apology live on air, but it didn’t help his cause.
Brennaman’s on-air apology proved he doesn’t regret what he said
Brennaman found out his homophobic slur was public knowledge by the top of the fifth inning Wednesday night. That’s when he issued his disingenuous apology that just made matters worse.
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 I’m so very, very sorry. I pride myself and think of myself as a man of faith.Thom Brennaman
In the middle of his apology, Nick Castellanos blasted a solo homer to left field, so, naturally, Brennaman paused his career-altering apology to call the play. Afterward, he pleaded to save his job.
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 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, I can’t begin to tell you how deeply sorry I am. That is not who I am and never has been, and 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.Thom Brennaman
Notice who he apologized to the most. Not the LGBTQ community. Not the fans. That’s right, “the people who sign my paycheck.” Brennaman showed his true colors Wednesday night, and all he cared about afterward what his wallet.
The Reds suspended Brennaman immediately after the game
After his lazy apology, Brennaman was replaced on the air and left the booth. After the game, the Reds announced they would be suspending Brennaman, effective immediately.
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 will be addressing our broadcasting team in the coming days. In no way does this incident represent our players, coaches, organization or our fans. We share our sincerest apologies to the LGBTQ+ community in Cincinnati, Kansas City, all across the country and beyond. The Reds embrace a zero-tolerance policy for bias or discrimination of any kind, and we are truly sorry to anyone who has been offended.Cincinnati Reds
Brennaman might never step foot in a booth again.