A hard and fast rule of the broadcast industry is to always, always assume that a microphone is hot and to never say anything into it that might get you in trouble. One would have thought veteran play-by-play announcer Thom Brennaman, who calls games for the Reds as well as Fox’s national MLB coverage, would know this, but that is apparently not the case.
On Wednesday night, Brennaman was caught on a hot mic hurling a homophobic slur in a discussion with someone as the Reds broadcast returned from a commercial break.
Longtime Cincinnati Reds announcer Thom Brennaman was caught on a hot mic saying “one of the fag capitals of the world.” He is currently announcing the second game of the Reds’ doubleheader against Kansas City. pic.twitter.com/Uwz07eRIKv
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 20, 2020
Unsurprisingly the use of that slur led to plenty of justified anger from fans, and entering the top of the fifth inning, Brennaman announced he would be handing play-by-play duties off to Jim Day for the remainder of the game, issuing an apology (while still giving a home run call that made it a truly surreal moment) with the clear understanding that his idiocy may have very well ended his career right then and there.
Thom Brennaman apologized on-air and handed the broadcast off pic.twitter.com/fMXMmQz7Kd
— CJ Fogler #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) August 20, 2020
There is no excuse for using that word and his “man of faith” apology rings pretty hollow as he was only apologizing for saying a slur because it ended up being broadcast to the masses and swiftly passed around social media. As he notes, he doesn’t know if he’ll put that headset on again to call a game and in fact it’d be fairly shocking if the Reds or Fox brought him back on their airwaves at all.
UPDATE: The Reds announced Brennaman was suspended, but no timetable was given, and issued an apology to their fans.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) August 20, 2020