Broadcaster Thom Brennaman uses homophobic slur on the air

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Thom Brennaman, a play-by-play broadcaster who calls NFL games on FOX, was heard using a homophobic slur when he didn’t realize he was on the air while calling a Cincinnati Reds game on Wednesday night. He was immediately suspended from his baseball job, but there was no immediate word on whether he will keep his football job.

Brennaman said the words “One of the f-g capitals of the world” during the Reds broadcast. He apparently thought the broadcast was on a commercial break at the time, but he was live on the air. Shortly after, he apologized while the game was going on, just barely acknowledging a home run that was hit while he was speaking.

“I made a comment earlier tonight that I guess went out over the air that I am deeply ashamed of,” Brennaman said on the air. “If I have hurt anyone out there, I can’t tell you how much I say from the bottom of my heart that I am so very, very sorry. I pride myself and think of myself as a man of faith, as there’s a drive into deep left field by Castellanos, that will be a home run, and so that will make it a 4-0 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. 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 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 could back that up. I am very, very sorry, and I beg for your forgiveness. Jim Day will take you the rest of the way home.”

With that, Brennaman left the booth before the game was over. The Reds announced that he is suspended for what the team called “the horrific, homophobic remark.” FOX has not commented.

66 responses to “Broadcaster Thom Brennaman uses homophobic slur on the air

  1. You can suspend or fire people for what they say on or off the air, and rightfully so. It’s surprising that a guy with as much experience as Brennaman has would make such a rookie mistake. He should know better than to utter anything derogatory in a public setting.

  2. “I don’t know if I’m going to be putting on this headset again”

    Sure ya do, bud. Sure ya do.

  3. This wasn’t a rookie mistake. Also, it is of zero significance that he didn’t know his egregious comments were being broadcast. Would this slur have been acceptable if it said during a break? Nope.

  4. If he said it once he probably said it a million times. Not that I am defending him, but now a days, in sports or sports related employment, you get second chances for domestic violence, DUIs’, drug usage, but one slip of the lip and you are banished forever.

  5. How someone could say that, and then just a few minutes later when caught say “that’s not me, that’s not who I am”… whatever, yes it is.

  6. Wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard “that’s not who I am” out of one of these public figures, sports figures and/or celebrities when they’ve been bagged saying or doing something improper that they didn’t think would go public.

  7. “It’s surprising that a guy with as much experience as Brennaman has would make such a rookie mistake.”
    _____________

    I think that was the entire issue: He was so experienced he got complacent. A rookie would probably be scared to death to say ANYTHING for fear of a hot mic situation but after decades on the air you get a little too comfortable. Seems to me that anybody with half a brain would use a “no swearing in the booth” strategy just to be safe.

  8. Let’s be honest, most of us didn’t bat an eye talking like this 20 years ago or when we were immature kids…. but you just can’t do it now..: in any setting.

    You have to be smart enough to restrain. Think what you want, I’m totally against the PC thought police… but you just can’t say it, especially at work.

    The dude will never call a game again, and I’m ok with that. Someone that can’t be professional is a business liability.

  9. Any pro broadcaster should know better than to chat it up when they’re cleared. There’s always a chance that a mic is still open.

  10. The good ol “I’m not a bad person, I’m a man of faith” defense. Bold and original strategy, let’s see if it works.

  11. bobbyb4567 says:
    August 20, 2020 at 10:35 am

    If we believe in forgiveness, he ought to be able to apologize and keep his job.
    __________

    In today’s cancel culture, forgiveness is in short supply. If he had said that 30 years ago in a private setting but a tape of it came out today, the reaction would be the same.

    Now, if he would have said something like “all police are racists,” that would be celebrated.

  12. I feel bad for the guy in the sense that what is transcribed above is the exact moment when he realizes that he just made a catastrophic mistake that will likely end his career and ruin his public standing. It’s hard to not empathize with such a terrible feeling.

    I don’t know what’s behind his remark, or if it is indicative of any actual harm – spoken or otherwise – he’s ever caused anyone. Maybe it’s an inner thought that has never revealed itself before now, or maybe it represents a routine of hateful behavior that has wounded other people along the way.

    I think the answer to that question should go a long way to informing what happens to him next, professionally.

  13. This isn’t the first time he has talked like this. Except this time someone “accidentally” put him on air earlier than expected.

  14. Bottom line: professionals cant do what he did, and he will be fired for it. The other thing though: the holier than though attitude that is likely to be bandied about by most people is a joke. If you live in the real world, you know full well that stuff like this is said everyday by LOTS of people. If everyone who ever uttered a “slur” was fired, this country would be 98% unemployed.

  15. I’m a Cincinnati guy and have followed him and his dad for pretty much their entire careers. I’d be easy to say that one stupid comment shouldn’t outweigh a lifetime of good work; but sometimes it just takes a single moment to reveal what’s been there the entire time. The Reds and Fox are private companies and we’re in a very different moment in 2020 than in the past; it wouldn’t surprise me if he never works in Broadcasting again. Stuff like that is toxic now and likely won’t change.

  16. Anyone saying these type of comments make note: it is not acceptable. It has always been offensive. Most people do not think this way. If you do think/speak this way, and you get caught, you cannot say this is not who you are.

  17. Super unprofessional. Of course he should be forgiven, but that’s not really the point here. The team, the network, etc all have sponsors to answer to and stockholders and they don’t want that kind of language used on air. Period. He knows that. Every mic is a hot mic…..and he knows that too.

  18. I hope he gets the boot. He’s the absolute worst broadcaster I’ve ever heard, aside from Booger. Complete monotone, boring, dull tone when he calls games. Later, Thom!

  19. If he called it one of the “gay” capitals of the world, his intent would have been the same, but his feelings wouldn’t have been clear. Its good he used the word he used because it exposed how he really feels. He deserves to have his mic taken away.

    While I don’t always agree with suspending/firing someone for something they said/tweeted 20 years ago, Thom is obviously not too fond of the people he is referring to, and since he can’t keep his emotions to himself, he shouldn’t be given a platform to voice them.

  20. I thought this was an era of educating, rehabbing, second chances. Dumb thing to say, probably exactly who he is. Doesn’t mean he can’t change.

    I mean look Bill Clinton is giving speeches on morals.

  21. I can’t imagine a situation where I would even “think” that phrase, much less say it out loud.

  22. Doesn’t matter if the mic was on/off…there were real live people (broadcast partner for one) who would have heard him say that even if the mic was off so you have to wonder what else he blurts out when the mic is off?

  23. supercharger says:
    August 20, 2020 at 11:32 am

    If he was a professional rapper he’d get paid millions to say words like this.

    —-

    Yep, Eminem comes to mind, and the NFL has used his music in lots of promos over the years.

  24. This guy is the worst, couldnt stand listening to him call games, and shows favoritism towards certain teams. So glad that he is going to be permanently blacklisted from broadcasting

  25. Norm MacDonald recounted a story years ago on Howard Stern about the time he sat in the play-by-play booth with Bob Uecker. He said he had a “mute” button for himself, and he’s quickly dart in and out of game commentary to hit the mute button, make deeply off-color jokes about players, fans, or whatever, then return to the game without missing a beat. Maybe it’s more common than previously thought.

  26. arwiv says:
    August 20, 2020 at 11:13 am
    Bottom line: professionals cant do what he did, and he will be fired for it. The other thing though: the holier than though attitude that is likely to be bandied about by most people is a joke. If you live in the real world, you know full well that stuff like this is said everyday by LOTS of people. If everyone who ever uttered a “slur” was fired, this country would be 98% unemployed.

    **********

    This is the “plain folks” defense of poor behavior as exhibited by Thom B. Poor behaviors aren’t really a problem because everybody does it, right?

    And you’re seeming to both condemn his speech (he will be fired), and minimize his transgression (99% would be unemployed). You enjoy waffles?

    He won’t work again for a while because his employer has deemed his behavior is a firing offense. It will protect its reputation. Laughable how some allude to political correctness when his departure is just a good solid business decision.

  27. It was a ridiculously stupid thing for him to say, hot mic or not… That said, I hope it’s merely a suspension and it doesn’t end his career.

  28. Is it just me or did he have that speech done perfect like it was written weeks ago and rehearsed? That’s a cool operator, to have the words all ready for the mistake of a lifetime in a mere few minutes. Imagine hearing his apology the next day.

  29. tonyzendejas says:
    August 20, 2020 at 1:08 pm
    Norm MacDonald recounted a story years ago on Howard Stern about the time he sat in the play-by-play booth with Bob Uecker. He said he had a “mute” button for himself, and he’s quickly dart in and out of game commentary to hit the mute button, make deeply off-color jokes about players, fans, or whatever, then return to the game without missing a beat. Maybe it’s more common than previously thought.
    __________________________________________________________________

    All Broadcasters have access to a cough button that mutes their mic while the button is held down. Really sad end to the Brennaman legacy his dad built with the Reds.

  30. First, this really shows regardless of his apology, who he is behind the scenes. Sad, because I always liked him as a broadcaster, but this certainly changes my feelings. Secondly, I used to work at a small-market TV station as a sportscaster. The first thing I learned, when I’m in studio and have a mic on, it’s always, “Hot mic.” Don’t assume you are off-air…ever. Seriously, a veteran broadcaster should know this.

  31. Too bad, the guy was pretty good, but in this cancel culture that comment is a deal breaker. He’ll never work again.

  32. It’s a convenient ignorance for most people that we don’t know the average NFL player’s attitudes on LGBT issues.

  33. Politicians seem to be able to get away with much worse. I think we are getting a little too crazy with our judgments. Way back when, we heard “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Apparently that got lost along the way. And yeah, what if this was lyrics in a rap song? Would anyone care? Let’s be sorry, but it’s not the end of the world. There are much worse problems to face.

  34. With no crowd noise this year, wait til you hear what NFL players say to each other on the field. 90% of the players will be canceled.

  35. Ah yes, the old “I’m a man of faith” deflection. That has no relevance here the guy said what he said.

  36. I’d have more respect for him if he said it and he meant it. Not no fake apology.

    Stop trying to do damage control and own it!

  37. If you have a mic near you should know that you are being heard at all times. Super dumb, while being a horrible person.

  38. The mistake wasn’t not knowing the mic was on, the mistake was making such a trashy comment.

  39. Reno Hightower says:
    August 20, 2020 at 1:57 pm
    Must be nice to never make a mistake guys
    ——————————————
    I’ve made lots of mistakes, but never ON THE AIR. The first thing I was taught on my first day of news reading with my college radio station (so long ago that Ford was President) was “Always assume the mic is ‘hot'”. Even if you were in a room at the radio station that didn’t have a microphone, you were told to not use certain language. If college-age guys can check their potty mouths and prejudices at the door, so can a middle-aged broadcaster.

  40. Just once I’d like to hear one of these guys say. “This IS who I am, and I’m ashamed of that part of me and know I need to change.” Seems like that would get more support than claiming it’s not who you are. That’s just weak and everybody sees through it. I’m a fan of second chances, but only when there seems to be true heart change and ownership. I don’t know Thom well enough gauge this – and truthfully, I can never know another man’s heart.

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