Cincinnati Reds Broadcaster Suspended for Using Anti-Gay Slur on Air

Reds announcer Thom Brennaman (right) is under fire for voicing a homophobic slur on air during a broadcast on August 19.
David Kohl/ USA Today Sports via Reuters

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Cincinnati Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman was caught using a homophobic slur on air during the team’s doubleheader against the Kansas City Royals on August 19, triggering an indefinite suspension.

As soon as the broadcast for the local Ohio Fox Sports affiliate returned from a commercial break in the seventh inning, Brennaman — clearly unaware that he had a hot mic — was heard saying “the fag capital of the world,” though it was not clear which “capital” he was referring to. He remained in the broadcast booth for the rest of the first game and was removed during the second game.

“I made a comment earlier tonight that I guess went out over the air that I am deeply ashamed of,” Brennaman said during the second game of the doubleheader as he prepared to hand off play-by-play duties and leave the broadcast booth. “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.”

Thom Brennaman apologizes, saying “That is not who I am,” players speak up in support of LGBTQ community

Brennaman, who has called games for more than three decades , admitted that he was not sure when — or if — he would ever wear a headset again.

“I can’t begin to tell you how deeply sorry I am,” he added. “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.”

The Reds moved quickly to publish a written statement, saying that the club is “devastated by the horrific, homophobic remark.”

“He was pulled off the air, and effective immediately was suspended from doing Reds broadcasts,” the organization said. “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 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.”

Fox Sports Ohio, which airs Reds games, was in agreement with the suspension and stressed that the comments were “hateful, offensive and in no way reflects the values” of the television network.

Reds players also used the incident as an opportunity to reaffirm their support for the LGBTQ community. Matt Bowman, a 29-year-old pitcher, posted a tweet hours after the controversy emerged.

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

Another pitcher on the Reds, Amir Garrett, also spoke out the same evening, denouncing homophobia and voicing his support for the queer 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,” he wrote in a tweet.

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