Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman suspended for anti-gay slur: What we know now

Thom Brennaman’s use of gay slur during a Cincinnati Reds broadcast Wednesday night has made national news with the New York Times, CNN and many other media outlets publishing stories on the incident.

Here’s what we know Thursday morning:

How Brennaman apologized

Brennaman, the longtime television voice of the Reds on Fox Sports Ohio, made the comment when he thought he wasn’t on the air during the first game of a doubleheader in Kansas City. He apologized during the second game.

“I made a comment earlier tonight that I guess went out over the air that I am deeply ashamed of,” Brennaman said. “If I have hurt anyone out there, I can’t say 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. … I don’t know if I’m going to 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’m going to apologize for the people who sign my paycheck, for the Reds, for Fox Sports Ohio, for the people I work with, for anybody I’ve offended her tonight. I can’t begin to tell you how deeply sorry I am.

“That is not who I am and never has been, and I’d like to think I have some people that can back that up. I am very very sorry, and I beg for your forgiveness. Jim Day will take you the rest of the way home.”

On Thursday morning, Brennaman released another statement of apology through Steinlight Media.

“I would like to sincerely apologize for the inappropriate comments I made during last night’s telecast,” he said. “I made a terrible mistake. To the LGBTQ community, and all people I have hurt or offended, from the bottom of my heart, I am truly sorry. I respectfully ask for your grace and forgiveness,” the statement said.

How the Reds reacted

Brennaman left the broadcast after he apologized and was replaced by Jim Day. The Reds released a statement after the game.

It read: “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.”

How Fox reacted

Fox Sports Ohio also released a statement after the game. It read: “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.”

On Thursday, Fox announced Brennaman also would be removed from NFL broadcasts.

“FOX Sports is extremely disappointed with Thom’s remarks during Wednesday’s Cincinnati Reds telecast,” the network said in a statement. “The language used was abhorrent, unacceptable, and not representative of the values of FOX Sports. As it relates to Brennaman’s FOX NFL role, we are moving forward with our NFL schedule which will not include him.”

What the players thought

Reds pitchers Amir Garrett and Matt Bowman shared their thoughts about Brennaman’s comment on Twitter.

Garrett wrote, “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.”

Bowman wrote, “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.”

How others reacted

Woodrow Keown, Jr., president and COO of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, in Cincinnati, also released a statement.

It read: “Language matters. Language has the power to uplift and degrade. The slur used by Thom Brennaman is a word that exists only to degrade the LGBTQ+ community. It is an ugly, derogatory, hate-filled word. Words imbued with hate can only do harm.

“Language is a powerful thing. It can spur people to action in pursuit of a righteous cause or it can be used to destroy people, their self-worth, their sense of belonging. The slur used by Thom Brennaman serves only to imply that certain people do not belong and to declare them lesser people. This is hateful, disappointing and wrong. We at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center are committed to inclusive freedom in this nation and in our global community – freedom for all people to live and love freely and without fear. The regular use of such a hateful slur is evidence that we still have a long way to go toward achieving inclusive freedom for all.

“However, we can and will grow from this moment. We encourage you to use this moment to have meaningful conversations with your family, your friends and yourself. Reflect on the power of language and the importance of understanding its context. Take this opportunity to reaffirm your commitment to inclusive freedom by eliminating hateful, othering words from your vocabulary. We stand against hate and prejudice. We stand with the LGBTQ+ community.”

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