Longtime Reds TV play-by-play man Thom Brennaman left the booth during the nightcap of a doubleheader on Wednesday against Kansas City and it might be on a permanent basis. For now, the Reds have said he has been suspended. (Brennaman has also been removed from FOX's NFL broadcasts, according to a statement from the network.)
Toward the end of the broadcast of the first game of the doubleheader, Brennaman was heard using a gay slur. He did not seem to know he was on the air yet before the end of a commercial break. Quickly, shares of the mic catching him on the air saying a slur spread across social media. Brennaman began broadcasting the second game of the doubleheader, but during the game, he issued an apology and left the booth (video here).
"I made a comment tonight that I am deeply ashamed of," he said before he signed off. "I am so very, very sorry. I pride myself as a man of faith. I don't know if I'll be putting on this headset again."
"That is not who I am and never has been. I'd like to think I have some people that can back that up. I am very sorry and I beg your forgiveness."
Field reporter Jim Day took over play-by-play duties.
The Reds issued the following statement after the game:
The Cincinnati Reds organization is devastated by the horrific, homophobic remark made this evening by broadcaster Thom Brennaman. He was pulled off the air, and effective immediately was suspended from doing Reds broadcasts. 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.
Brennaman has been the Reds' play-by-play man since the start of the 2007 season. He's the son of legendary radio play-by-play man Marty Brennaman, who is actually being inducted into the Reds' Hall of Fame in 2021, an announcement that was made on Wednesday by the club. In all, Thom has called Major League Baseball games for 33 years, 27 of which with a local affiliate.
Major League Baseball has yet to issue a statement on the matter. At least one Reds player has already spoken out on Twitter, reliever Amir Garrett:
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.— CountOnAG (@Amir_Garrett) August 20, 2020
There's no word on the length of Brennaman's suspension, so consider it indefinite for the time being.