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Cincinnati Reds suspend broadcaster Thom Brennaman for using homophobic slur on air

'I don’t know if I’m going to be putting on this headset again'
MLB broadcaster Thom Brennaman apologizes for using homophobic slur during live broadcast
Posted at 7:30 PM, Aug 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 08:30:34-04

Cincinnati Reds and Fox Sports Ohio broadcaster Thom Brennaman has been suspended "effective immediately" from Reds broadcasts after he used a homophobic slur on-air Wednesday evening.

"We will be addressing this with our broadcasting team in the coming days. In no way does this incident represent our players, organization or our fans," read a statement from the Reds late Wednesday night.

FOX Sports Ohio later tweeted that the language Brennaman used was "hateful, offensive, and in no way reflect the values of FOX Sports Ohio." The TV channel also said it supports the decision by the Reds to suspend Brennaman.

The incident happened as the game returned from a commercial break before the top of the seventh inning in the first game of a doubleheader against the Kansas City Royals. An off-camera Brennaman said "one of the (expletive) capitals of the world" during the broadcast. It is unclear if he knew his microphone was on or that he was broadcasting live.

Video of Brennaman's comment began circulating on social media later that evening, and Brennaman later apologized on-air for using the slur.

"I made a comment earlier tonight that I guess went out over the air that I am deeply ashamed of," Brennaman said. "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 … 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 to the people who sign my paycheck. For the Reds, for Fox Sports Ohio, for the people I work with, for anybody who I have offended here tonight: I can't begin to tell you how deeply sorry I am. That is not who I am. It never has been, and I like to think that maybe I could have some people that can back that up. I am very, very sorry and I beg for your forgiveness," the broadcaster said before leaving the studio.

Reds RF Nick Castellanos happened to hit a home run in the middle of Brennaman's apology.

Reds broadcaster Jim Day immediately replaced Brennaman and completed the rest of the game.

The Reds faced the Royals in a double-header on Wednesday evening, their first game back since a player tested positive on Friday night.

The son of longtime Reds radio broadcaster and Hall of Famer 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.

Reds pitcher Amir Garrett tweeted his support for the LGBT+ community late Wednesday night following Brennaman's use of the slur.

"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," he wrote.

Shortly after the video began gaining traction on social media, Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Seelbach tweeted his disgust at the on-air remark.

"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. The Reds have been proud supporters of their LGBTQ+ fans, and this language cannot be tolerated," he wrote Wednesday night.

Cincinnati Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld chimed in a short time later, calling Brennaman's use of the slur unacceptable.

"Cincinnati went from being one of the least LGBTQ+ friendly cities in the country to becoming one of the most," he tweeted. "We've made great strides - Brennaman's slur is completely unacceptable, and does not represent the city we know and love."

Councilman Greg Landsman tweeted he believes Brennaman should be fired for using the slur.

"What Thom Brennaman said tonight isn't just a slur, but a statement that devalues and mocks the dignity of an entire community of people. It does not represent the values of the (Reds) or our city. He should go," he wrote.

This story was originally published by WCPO in Cincinnati.