A Fox Sports announcer who has been calling Major League Baseball video games for greater than 30 years was suspended on Wednesday night time, the Cincinnati Reds stated, after he used a homophobic slur throughout a reside broadcast of a Reds doubleheader towards the Kansas City Royals.
“The Cincinnati Reds organization is devastated by the horrific, homophobic remark made this evening by broadcaster Thom Brennaman,” the crew stated in a press release. “He was pulled off the air, and effective immediately was suspended from doing Reds broadcasts.”
The Reds stated the group deliberate to deal with Mr. Brennaman’s remarks with its broadcast crew within the coming days. The crew stated that it embraced a “zero-tolerance policy” towards bias and discrimination and that “we are truly sorry to anyone who has been offended.”
“In no way does this incident represent our players, coaches, organization, or our fans,” the crew stated. “We share our sincerest apologies to the L.G.B.T.Q.+ community in Cincinnati, Kansas City, all across this country, and beyond.”
Mr. Brennaman, 56, was suspended after movies circulated extensively on social media exhibiting him apparently caught on a reside mic on Wednesday night time describing a spot as “one of the fag capitals of the world.” It was not clear the place he was referring to.
After the slur was broadcast, Mr. Brennaman segued right into a promotion of the Reds’ pregame present.
The remark stirred outrage on social media, with some followers calling for him to be fired. Later Wednesday night time, Mr. Brennaman apologized for his remarks, saying he was “deeply ashamed.”
“I don’t know if I’m going to be putting on this headset again,” Mr. Brennaman stated within the on-air apology, which he briefly interrupted to announce a home run by the Reds’ Nick Castellanos. “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.”
Mr. Brennaman said he wanted to apologize to the “people who sign my paycheck,” to the Reds, to Fox Sports Ohio and to “anybody that I’ve offended here tonight.”
“I can’t begin to tell you how deeply sorry I am,” he said. “That is not who I am. It never has been. And I’d like to think maybe I could have some people that could back that up. I am very, very sorry and I beg for your forgiveness.”
Mr. Brennaman then said he was signing off and handing over announcing duties for the rest of the night to another longtime announcer at Fox Sports, Jim Day.
“It’s disturbing how casually and recklessly Brennaman used an anti-gay slur while wearing a microphone during a live broadcast,” Glaad, the L.G.B.T.Q. advocacy organization, said in a statement. “His ‘apology’ was also incredibly weak and not enough. We are demanding full accountability from @Reds, @MLB and @FOXSports.”
In a statement early Thursday morning, Mr. Brennaman apologized for “the inappropriate comments I made during last night’s telecast.”
“I made a terrible mistake,” he said. “To the L.G.B.T.Q. community, and all people I have hurt or offended, from the bottom of my heart, I am truly sorry. I respectfully ask for your grace and forgiveness.”
Fox Sports and Major League Baseball did not respond to messages seeking comment.
Chris Seelbach, the first openly gay member of the Cincinnati City Council, said it was “incredibly disappointing to hear Mr. Brennaman use such language of hate when our country is begging for unity.”
“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,” Mr. Seelbach wrote on Twitter on Wednesday night. “The Reds have been proud supporters of their L.G.B.T.Q.+ fans, and this language cannot be tolerated. Period.”
The son of Marty Brennaman, the first broadcaster inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame, Thom Brennaman completed his 25th year at Fox Sports in 2018, according to the network. He has been calling Major League Baseball games for more than 30 years, including more than 13 years as a member of the Reds’ TV and radio broadcast team.
Mr. Brennaman’s slur was just the latest homophobic incident in the baseball world.
In 2018, Atlanta Braves pitcher Sean Newcomb apologized for racist, homophobic and sexist tweets he had sent as a teenager. That year Milwaukee Brewers reliever Josh Hader, who pitched in the All-Star Game, also apologized for racist and homophobic Twitter posts in 2011 that had surfaced during the game.