A commentator for Major League Baseball team the Cincinnati Reds has been suspended after using a homophobic slur on air.
Thom Brennaman was pulled from air on Wednesday after saying “fag” when the broadcast returned from a commercial break.
The 56-year-old issued an apology later in the game, before being replaced by another commentator.
Cincinnati Reds issued a statement calling Brennaman’s comments “horrific,” and saying he had been suspended from commentating on the team’s games “effective immediately.”
Brennaman, an MLB broadcaster for more than 30 years, was commentating on a game between the Reds and the Kansas City Royals in Kansas City, Mo., on Wednesday night.
Seemingly unaware that Fox Sports Ohio had returned to the live broadcast from a commercial break, Brennaman could be heard saying that an unknown location was “one of the fag capitals of the world.”
Thom Brennaman surprises absolutely nobody pic.twitter.com/kZBWk1gxRJ
— ¡JONRONAZO! (@JV__19) August 19, 2020
Brennaman uttered the slur during the first game’s seventh inning, The Guardian reports, but continued commentating until the fifth inning of the second game, when he issued an on-air apology.
“I made a comment earlier tonight, that I guess went out over the air, that I am deeply ashamed of,” he said. “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 very, very sorry.”
“I pride myself and think of myself as a man of faith,” Brennaman continued, before pausing his apology to comment on a home run for the Reds — something that drew an incredulous response on social media.
no way did this just happen, this is not real pic.twitter.com/6ou1BkAhYW
— paco (@AllaireMatt) August 20, 2020
“I don’t know if I’m going to be putting on this headset again,” Brennaman continued, after noting the home run. “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 and it never has been,” he concluded. “I’d like to think maybe I could have some people that can back that up. I am very, very sorry, and I beg for your forgiveness.”
Brennaman was replaced by fellow broadcaster Jim Day for the remainder of the game.
In a statement issued after the game, the Reds said they were “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,” they said. “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 statement continued. “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.”
Reds pitcher Amir Garrett tweeted: “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.”
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
“LGBTQ+ community, as a member of the Reds organization, I am so sorry for the way you were marginalized tonight,” fellow Reds pitcher Matt Bowman tweeted. “There will always be a place for you in the baseball community and we are so happy to have you here.”
LGBTQ+ community, as a member of the Reds organization, I am so sorry for the way you were marginalized tonight. There will always be a place for you in the baseball community and we are so happy to have you here.
— Matt Bowman (@bowmandernchief) August 20, 2020
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