Cincinnati Reds players are speaking out against a homophobic remark caught on a hot mic that led to the suspension of Reds announcer Thom Brennaman.
The veteran broadcaster was suspended Wednesday night after using a homophobic remark during a live broadcast of a Reds game against the Kansas City Royals.
Brennaman was unknowingly recorded describing a place as “one of the f — — capitals of the world,” though it was unclear what he was referring to.
The incident quickly made its way through social media platforms. Sports fans expressed outrage, with many calling for his firing.
He later issued an apology, which the LGBTQ media advocacy group GLADD described as “incredibly weak and not enough.”
“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,” he said.
“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.”
But if the 56-year-old Fox Sports announcer was vague on the intended recipients of his mea culpa, a number of Reds players quickly took to social media to clarify their position.
“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,” pitcher Amir Garrett tweeted Wednesday evening.
Fellow pitcher Matt Bowman echoed that sentiment, writing, “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.
In an official statement from the team, also shared on Twitter, the Cincinnati Reds said they were “devastated by the horrific, homophobic remark.”
“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.”
Brennaman, who had been a part of the Reds announcing team since 2007, used the slur moments after Fox Sports Ohio’s feed returned from a commercial break before the top of the seventh inning in the first game of a doubleheader Wednesday at Kansas City. Brennaman did not seem to realize he was already on air. The remarks prompted a firestorm on social media.
Brennaman opened the fifth inning of the second game with an apology spoken directly to the camera before handing off play-by-play duties to Jim Day.
He noted the trouble he was in by saying, “I don’t know if I’m going to be putting on this headset again” while apologizing to the Reds, Fox Sports and his coworkers.
Even though most regional networks still carry the Fox Sports name, they are not owned by Fox. Sinclair Broadcast Group bought them in 2019.
The Reds announcers were working from Cincinnati. Teams are not sending announcers to road games this season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Fox Sports issued a statement Thursday that said “we are moving forward with our NFL schedule which will not include him.” Fox also said Brennaman’s remarks were “abhorrent, unacceptable, and not representative of the values of Fox Sports.”
Brennaman had been a part of Fox’s NFL announcer lineup since they started televising the league in 1994. He was part of the No. 3 announcer team last season and was paired with analyst Chris Spielman and reporter Shannon Spake. He had also called Major League Baseball games for the network from 1996 to 2014.
The son of Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman, Thom has called major league games for 33 years and has been with Fox Sports for the past 27, covering primarily baseball and football.
Marty Brennaman told The Cincinnati Enquirer on Wednesday night, “As a dad, I hurt for him,. What he said is not a reflection of who Thom Brennaman is. I know that’s not him. But I also feel terrible for the people the comment offended.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.