Cincinnati Reds broadcaster suspended after on-air homophobic slur

Kansas City, Missouri — Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman has been suspended from working Cincinnati’s games after using an anti-gay slur on the air Wednesday night, prompting the team to apologize for the “horrific, homophobic remark.”

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 at Kansas City. Brennaman didn’t seem to realize he was already on the air. He later apologized.

CBSSports.com’s Matt Snyder reports that videos of his remark quickly spread across social media.

The Reds took the 56-year-old Brennaman off the broadcast in the fifth inning of the second game.

“The Cincinnati Reds organization is devastated by the horrific, homophobic remark made this evening by broadcaster Thom Brennaman,” the team said in a statement. “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.” 

Reds Brennaman Gay Slur Baseball
September 2019, file photo shows Cincinnati Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman in an outside announcing booth before the Reds’ game against the Milwaukee Brewers in Cincinnati.

John Minchillo / AP


“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 this 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,” it said.

There was no word on the length of the suspension.

Brennaman opened the fifth inning with an apology spoken directly to 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.”

After pausing to announce a home run by Cincinnati’s Nick Castellanos, Brennaman added: “I don’t know if I’m going to be putting on this headset again” and apologized to the Reds, Fox Sports and his coworkers.

“I can’t begin to tell you how deeply sorry I am,” Brennaman said. “That is not who I am and never has been. I like to think maybe I could have some people who can back that up. I am very, very sorry and I beg for your forgiveness.”

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.

Reds reliever Amir Garrett tweeted  about Brennaman’s words shortly after the end of the second game:

“To the LGBTQ community just know I am with you, and whoever is against you, is against me,” he wrote. “I’m sorry for what was said today.”

“LGBTQ+ community, as a member of the Reds organization, I am so sorry for the way you were marginalized tonight,” injured Reds reliever Matt Bowman said on Twitter. “There will always be a place for you in the baseball community and we are so happy to have you here.”

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.

CBSSports.com’s Snyder notes that the Reds had announced earlier in the day that the elder Brennaman is being inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame next year.

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