Thom Brennaman opens up about fallout from on-air anti-gay slur
Veteran broadcaster Thom Brennaman has spoken out for the first time since he used an anti-gay slur while handling play-by-play duties for a Cincinnati Reds game last month.
Brennman acknowledged in an interview this week with Mark Fischer of the New York Post that “there are a lot of people who are still very angry and I understand that.”
During the Reds game on Aug. 19, Brennaman was caught uttering the anti-gay slur when the telecast of the first game of a doubleheader with the Kansas City Royals was coming out of a commercial break (video here, viewer discretion advised). It remains unclear exactly what inspired the remark.
“I have never used that word (before) in my life,” Brennaman said.
Brennaman later apologized on-air nearly two hours later during the doubleheader’s second game in one of the most awkward scenes in sports broadcasting history before being replaced on the telecast.
Thom Brennaman apologizes, leaves @reds broadcast after open-mic disaster tonight. pic.twitter.com/ZAFYKtJRRo— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) August 20, 2020
Brennaman is in the midst of an apology tour that included a recent meeting with Evan Millward, a gay newscaster in Cincinnati, among other acts of contrition in the hopes that a career that appears over can be somehow resurrected.
The longtime voice of the Reds unsurprisingly has been off the air since the on-air incident, a move FOX Sports Ohio announced almost immediately. FOX Sports has also since announced that Brennaman will not call NFL games for the network this season.
Now looking back, Brennaman insists he has no recollection of what caused him to utter the anti-gay slur.
“Everything happened so fast,” Brennaman told Fischer. “And I’m watching literally everything fall apart at the seams while trying to announce a baseball game.
“I couldn’t even tell you what happened, where it came from. … Look, I said it is all that matters. The rest of it is irrelevant. I said it. And I own it. And I’m the one who has to live with it.”
Brennaman continues attempts at making amends, including meeting with various LGTBQ groups.
“The realization of the incredible hurt that I’ve caused using that word has been breathtaking,” Brennaman said. “It’s been absolutely amazing the amount of grace and forgiveness and support.”
Despite his apparent best efforts, Brennaman appears to understand he may never be forgiven for his transgression.
“If I get another chance, someone will be hiring a better person than the person who walked out the door that night on Aug. 19.”