The Cincinnati Reds suspended broadcaster Thom Brennaman following his use of an anti-gay slur live on air. On the Fox Sports Ohio broadcast, Brennaman was heard saying, “One of the f*g capitals of the world.” Clearly, the broadcaster didn’t know he was on air when he said it. Nobody knows the context of the deeply ugly remark, but here, context doesn’t matter and Brennaman rightly so faced the consequences.
When It Happened
Brennaman said the slur last Wednesday when the Cincinnati Reds were facing off against the Kansas City Royals. Seconds after saying what he said, there was silence and Brennaman returned to advertising and calling the game. Brennaman continued to comment on the game, completely uninterrupted. In game two of the Reds-Royal series, the commentator finally acknowledged the moment, saying he was “deeply ashamed” of his comments. He added to whoever he hurt, he was sorry.
Here’s Brennaman’s full on-air apology, which at one point, was interrupted by him having to comment on a homerun made by the Cincinnati Reds:
I made a comment earlier tonight that I guess went out over the air that I am deeply ashamed of. If I have hurt anyone out there, I can’t tell you how much I say, from the bottom of my heart, I am so very, very sorry. I pride myself and think of myself as a man of faith—as here’s a drive into deep left field by Castellanos, it will be a home run, and so that’ll make it a 4–nothing 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, and I want to apologize for the people who sign my paycheck.
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. It never has been. And I’d like to think maybe I could have some people that, that could back that up. I am very, very sorry, and I beg for your forgiveness.
Brennaman is indeed facing consequences for his public words from the public, as he should. Twitter users called him out, of course. The host has been suspended indefinitely from the Reds’ broadcasts. On top of that, Brennaman will no longer call NFL games for the network this season; he commented on the Cincinnati Bengals’ games.
Not The Most Self-Aware Apology
Brennaman didn’t fully own up to his words. He said, “That is not who I am. It has never been,” It was, however, who he was only hours before his apology. He said it on that very day. Maybe it’s not who he is on air until that day, but it’s telling the host spoke the slur when he was at work, too. Thinking he was on air or not, he said it at his office, his place of work, most likely to someone he was working with at the time. You know it’s bad when someone, within a week, has to apologize twice and, essentially, apologize for their apology too. Brennaman did just that when he wrote in the Cincinnati Enquirer opinion column:
“I used a word that is both offensive and insulting. In the past 24 hours, I have read about its history; I had no idea it was so rooted in hate and violence and am particularly ashamed that I, someone who makes his living by the use of words, could be so careless and insensitive. It’s a word that should have no place in my vocabulary and I will certainly never utter it again.”
Hopefully, Brennaman has learned his lesson, and others will learn from it as well.