An announcer for Fox Sports who has been calling Major League Baseball games for more than 30 years apologized on Wednesday night after he used a homophobic slur during a live broadcast of a Cincinnati Reds doubleheader against the Kansas City Royals.
“I don’t know if I’m going to be putting on this headset again,” the announcer, Thom Brennaman, said in an on-air apology, which he briefly interrupted to announce a home run by the Reds’ Nick Castellanos. “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.”
Mr. Brennaman said he wanted to apologize to the “people who sign my paycheck,” to the Reds, to Fox Sports Ohio and to “anybody that I’ve offended here tonight.”
“I can’t begin to tell you how deeply sorry I am,” he said. “That is not who I am. It 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.”
Mr. Brennaman then said he was signing off and handing over announcing duties for the rest of the night to another longtime announcer at Fox Sports, Jim Day.
Mr. Brennaman issued the apology after videos circulated widely on social media showing him apparently caught on a live mic earlier in the night describing a place as “one of the fag capitals of the world.” It was not clear where he was referring to.
The snippet was the only part of Mr. Brennaman’s homophobic remarks that were broadcast before he segued into a promotion of the Reds’ pregame show.
The comments stirred outrage on social media, with some fans calling for him to be fired. Fox Sports, Major League Baseball and the Reds did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment on Wednesday night.
Chris Seelbach, the first openly gay member of the Cincinnati City Council, said it was “incredibly disappointing to hear Mr. Brennaman use such language of hate when our country is begging for unity.”
“The Brennaman family are Cincinnati sports icons with a powerful voice in our community, which makes it even more disgusting and totally unprofessional to hear such language used,” Mr. Seelbach wrote on Twitter on Wednesday night. “The Reds have been proud supporters of their LGBTQ+ fans, and this language cannot be tolerated. Period.”
The son of Marty Brennaman, the first broadcaster inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame, Thom Brennaman, 56, completed his 25th year at Fox Sports in 2018, according to the network. He has been calling Major League Baseball games for more than 30 years, including more than 13 years as a member of the Reds’ TV and radio broadcast team.
Mr. Brennaman’s slur was just the latest homophobic incident in the baseball world.
In 2017, the Toronto Blue Jays suspended outfielder Kevin Pillar after he shouted an antigay slur at Atlanta Braves reliever Jason Motte, who had struck Pillar out with a quick pitch.
In 2018, Atlanta Braves pitcher Sean Newcomb apologized for racist, homophobic and sexist tweets he had sent as a teenager. That year Milwaukee Brewers reliever Josh Hader, who pitched in the All-Star Game, also apologized for racist and homophobic Twitter posts in 2011 that had surfaced during the game.