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Reds Suspend Broadcaster Thom Brennaman for On-Air Homophobic Slur [UPDATED]

Thom Brennaman calls a game with his father, Marty Brennaman, in 2019.
Thom Brennaman calls a game with his father, Marty Brennaman, in 2019.
Image: Getty Images

Early on in their careers, all broadcasters get the same sage advice: Don’t say anything OFF the air you wouldn’t say ON the air. You never know when a mic is hot.

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Reds play-by-play announcer Thom Brennaman has been in the industry long enough to know better but, given what Brennaman was caught saying on a live mic today, it’s hard to have much sympathy for him. You don’t have to strain your ears to hear Brenneman drop an homophobic slur on the air.

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The audio was heard after the first game of a Reds/Royals doubleheader on Fox Sports Ohio. And while it’s unclear what Brennaman is referring to, you can clearly hear him saying “one of the great f*g capitals of the world.”

Updated on August 19, 2020 at 9:35 p.m.: Brennaman later apologized on the air.

“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,” he said before stopping to make a home run call for the Reds’ Nick Castellanos. “I don’t know if I’ll 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 for the people that sign my paycheck — for the Reds, for FOX Sports Ohio, for the people I work with, for anybody I’ve offended tonight. I can’t begin to tell you how deeply sorry I am. That is not who I am, it never has been. I’d like to think that I have some people that could back that up. I am very, very sorry and I beg for your forgiveness.”

With that, Brennaman handed over the broadcast to Fox Sports Ohio voice Jim Day.

Brennaman has been calling Reds games since 2006, and is the son of Hall of Fame Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman.

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Updated on August 20, 2020 at 9:11 a.m.: The Cincinnati Reds have announced that Brennaman has been suspended indefinitely from Reds broadcasts, issuing a statement saying, in part, that the “organization is devastated by the horrific, homophobic remark.”

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Fox Sports Ohio, the flagship station of Reds games, issued a statement supporting the Reds’ decision to suspend Brennaman, saying, “The language that Thom Brennaman used this evening is hateful, offensive, and in no way reflects the values of FOX Sports Ohio. We agree with the @Reds decision to suspend him until further notice.”

Been editing/writing sports for some time, mainly in NYC and a stint in LA.

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