Reds suspend Brennaman after comment

August 20th, 2020

The future of longtime Reds television broadcaster Thom Brennaman’s career with the club is in doubt after the play-by-play voice was heard Wednesday using a homophobic slur during a game. 

During Game 1 of the Reds' doubleheader vs. the Royals, Brennaman’s comment was heard by some viewers between the sixth and seventh innings before he read a promotion for the postgame show.

The Reds announced after the doubleheader that Brennaman has been suspended, issuing the following statement:

"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."

As the Reds were batting during the top of the fifth inning of the second game, Brennaman apologized for his words and left the broadcast. In-game reporter Jim Day moved into the play-by-play role for the game, which was called from studios in Cincinnati because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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 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 ...”

At this point, Nick Castellanos led off the fifth with a home run for Cincinnati before Brennaman resumed.

“I don't know if I'm going to be putting on this headset again,” Brennaman said. “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 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 never has been. And I'd like to think maybe I could have some people that could back that up. I am very, very sorry, and I beg for your forgiveness.”

Brennaman is in his 14th season as a member of the broadcast team and is the son of Reds radio broadcasting icon Marty Brennaman.

The elder Brennaman retired after the 2019 season following 46 years behind the microphone for the team. His son followed in his footsteps from a young age and has been calling Major League Baseball games for 33 seasons overall.

Before Wednesday’s incident, Day was already scheduled to have play-by-play duties for the next four games as the Reds played the Cardinals.