Long-time Cincinnati Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman apologised and left the booth after using a homophobic slur on-air on Wednesday.
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 between the Reds and Kansas City Royals.
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Brennaman did not seem to realise he was already on-air.
The 56-year-old remained on-air until the fifth inning of the second game, 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,” he said.
“If I have hurt anyone out there, I can't tell you how much I say from the bottom of my heart, I am very, very sorry.”
In comical scenes, Brennaman paused his apology to call a home run hit by Reds outfielder Nick Castellanos.
Ironically, Castellanos’ home run landed in the “judgment free zone” of the left-field stands.
“I pride myself and think of myself as a man of faith, as there is a drive into deep left field by Castellanos,” he said.
“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 apologise to the people who sign my paycheque, 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.”
Thom Brennaman suspended by Reds
By night’s end, the Reds announced Brennaman was suspended effective immediately, with a further decision on the broadcast team due to follow in the coming days.
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.
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 after Brennaman stepped down.
After the game, Reds pitcher Amir Garrett addressed the matter by tweeting a statement of solidarity with the LGBTQ community, and apologised for Brennaman’s language.
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.— CountOnAG (@Amir_Garrett) August 20, 2020
The Thom Brennaman era of the Cincinnati Reds looks like it may have ended tonight— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) August 19, 2020
Just saw the Thom Brennaman clip.— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) August 20, 2020
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a hot mic, a muted mic, or 8,000 yards from a mic, there’s no excuse for that phrase or that word.
It’s just blatantly unacceptable.
Seriously, Thom Brennaman calling a Home Run in the middle of a career altering apology is unintentionally the funniest video of 2020 pic.twitter.com/OsCoaWdoHA— Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) August 20, 2020
nick castellanos hit a homer directly into the “judgement-free zone” WHILE thom brennaman was apologizing on the air for his homophobic comment oh my god pic.twitter.com/U8HuptyAxZ— Lucas Dolengowski (@LDolengowski) August 20, 2020
Thom Brennaman saying a disgusting slur isn’t about a hot mic. It isn’t about being aware of what’s appropriate on the air and a quick mistake. It’s about being that comfortable even using a disgusting slur in any setting, how casual it sounded for him and the hate he spoke with.— Tyler Greever (@Tyler_Greever) August 20, 2020
with Associated Press and Yahoo US