Former Reds Sportscaster 'Embarrassed' by On-Air Homophobic Slur

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday December 4, 2020

Thom Brennaman
Thom Brennaman  (Source:AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

Sportscaster Thom Brennaman is "embarrassed" at having used a gay slur on-air earlier this year, the New York Post reports.

As EDGE reported in August, during an August 19 game between the Cincinnati Reds and Kansas City, the announcer didn't appear to realize he was back on-air and that his microphone was on when he used the slur. Brennaman was replaced mid-game, suspended, and ultimately resigned his position with the Reds and FOX Sports Ohio.

In a recent interview, Brennaman explains how the unfortunate incident left him "embarrassed. I embarrassed a lot of people. I embarrassed my family. I hurt my wife. I hurt my kids. Obviously, I hurt my career. But that's further down the totem pole than hurting your family and embarrassing them. And I have two kids in high school here that have to deal with all that. And when they go to Google their dad — if they ever do — but if they do, I'm a homophobe.

"And I'm not a homophobe. And I know there a lot of people that'll say, 'Well you used that word, so that makes you a homophobe.' And for those people, I get it, I understand. But since then, I've tried to be around and have been around and to listen and to learn and to grow from other people and realize the magnitude of the word that I used."

But instead of disappearing, the sportscaster believes the only way forward is to "try to get better. And if there is such a thing as trying to right a wrong — and I don't know if there is or not, that's for others to decide, it's not for me to decide — that's what I'm trying to do. ... The support and the grace and the willingness to forgive (from members of the LGBTQ community) has just been amazing."

Brennaman added, "whether it's sexual orientation slurs, gender identity slurs, racial slurs — and especially for young people, social media posts — those things can follow you and haunt you for the rest of your life. ... My goal is to help other people not make the same mistake that I did."

He also hopes that redemption is possible, saying he "can't apologize for trying to get a job. I have a wife and two children at home. I have to support them financially. And some might say, 'Well this guy has made a ton of money his whole life.' Look: The bottom line is I have to prove to my kids and my wife that their dad or their husband can get off the deck and try to get back after making a terrible mistake instead of running and hiding."

The day after Brennaman's incident, he authored an apology to the LGBTQ community, expressing his remorse over having used a homophobic slur.

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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