IDIOT OF THE YEAR #10: Thom Brennaman — and there’s a deep drive by Castellanos

Bumbling broadcaster checked all the boxes in 2021

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Thom Brennaman
Illustration: Getty Images

Welcome to Deadspin’s IDIOT OF THE YEAR festivities! Nos. 50 through 11 are available for your enjoyment here. And our top 10 thus far:

10. Thom Brennaman

9. Ted Cruz

8. Rob Manfred

7. Kyrie Irving

6. Sage Steele

5. Urban Meyer

Thom Brennaman, born on third base thinking he hit a triple, is proof that there’s no such thing as cancel culture.

When he was fired by Fox Sports in 2020 — something that he saw coming during his infamous “deep drive by Castellanos” failed apology — it would have made sense if Brennaman had to go find another line of work. Call that cancel culture, or call it facing consequences for your actions, but there’s some logical flow to “man says homophobic slur on the air, man never broadcasts another game.”


But Brennaman has been broadcasting games, calling high school football in Cincinnati and trying to build prep sports streaming into a business. We learned this from a fawning Sports Broadcast Journal interview in which Brennaman talked about what a struggle he’s had, how much help he’s had from incredibly famous and powerful people like Bob Costas and fellow silver-spoon broadcaster Joe Buck, how he thought Fox would “make a statement” by hiring him back, and how proud he was of getting Urban Meyer to come on his podcast. That last one became much funnier later on.

Just because your dad was the longtime voice of the Cincinnati Reds doesn’t mean that it’s your birthright to have that same job for as long as you want it. Brennaman already got away with being a lousy broadcaster for years, but after being fired for reasons that even he could understand, he felt that he should be welcomed back with open arms after “14 months of hell?”


Brennaman talks a lot about how he’s “a man of faith” and “a good Christian,” yet at no point does he seem to grasp the concept of penance. In the year after doing something so egregious, that he got taken off the air, what did Brennaman do to make amends?

“I immediately talked with Billy Bean, who’s MLB’s director of inclusion and social responsibility,” Brennaman said. “He offered to assist me and did.”


That’s right, he talked to one (1) gay man, who… assisted him? Assisted him how? Why is it even Bean’s task to assist Brennaman? Assist him in understanding that you don’t say “f- -” into a hot mic?

No, Brennaman still doesn’t get it, which he showed in his criticism, in the same interview, of Grant Napear losing his broadcast gig with the Sacramento Kings over an “All Lives Matter” tweet.


“How do you justify it? What did he do?” Brennaman asked. “If we live in an environment that BLM matters, don’t all lives matter? That makes you a racist? How ludicrous is that?”

The ludicrous thing is continuing to not grasp, or pretending not to grasp, that “Black Lives Matter” is directly connected to police violence, and that saying “All Lives Matter” in response is like telling someone whose house is on fire, “All Houses Matter.”


Brennaman could be an idiot just for that. With his continued persecution act, even as he’s still saying what happens in sporting events in exchange for money, Brennaman is on a shortlist for IDIOT OF THE YEAR.