In the hours after he said a homophobic slur in front of a hot mic, play-by-play announcer Thom Brennaman was quickly suspended by the Cincinnati Reds and now FOX Sports, from his scheduled NFL broadcasts for the upcoming season.
“FOX Sports is extremely disappointed with Thom Brennaman’s remarks during Wednesday’s Cincinnati Reds telecast,” FOX said in a statement Thursday. “The language used was abhorrent, unacceptable, and not representative of the values of FOX Sports.”
Brennaman has been a national announcer with FOX for decades, calling NFL games since 1994 and MLB games from 1996-2014. Last season, Brennaman was part of FOX’s No. 3 broadcast team, alongside analyst Chris Spielman and field reporter Shannon Spake. In 2006, Brennaman joined the Reds as a play-by-play announcer, the organization where his father Marty Brennaman worked as their radio voice from 1974-2019.
The disgraced broadcaster is now in crisis mode, offering a second apology in an op-ed for The Cincinnati Inquirer on Thursday as he attempts to express remorse and a commitment to understanding LGBTQ+ issues.
“To the LGBTQ+ community – I am truly and deeply sorry,” Brennaman wrote. “You should never be denigrated with crude and hateful language. I failed you, and I cannot say enough how sorry I am.”
The longtime Cincinnati Reds and FOX announcer went on to state the steps he’s taking to become more informed.
“I have spoken at length with Billy Bean, vice president and special assistant to the commissioner of baseball and an openly gay man, and Evan Millward, WCPO-TV anchorman, who have been generous with their time and patience to help me understand the impact of my actions and provided me with resources to educate myself and work to become a more informed person.
“With their help, I am going to start improving my understanding of LGBTQ+ issues and not in a way to simply check a box to keep my job, but to sincerely have an impact and change. I immediately plan to participate in diversity, equity and inclusion training and have reached out to PFLAG for resources and guidance.”
Two hours after uttering the slur during a live broadcast, Brennaman realized his career was in jeopardy, but a statement by GLAAD said his first apology was “incredibly weak and not enough,” also “demanding full accountability” from the Reds, Major League Baseball and FOX.
“I don’t know if I’m going to be putting on this headset again,” Brennaman said before exiting the Reds broadcast Wednesday night in the fifth inning. If he does get the opportunity to put the headset on again, it certainly won’t be any time soon.
Brandon Contes is a former reporter for BSM, now working for Awful Announcing. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonContes or reach him by email at Brandon.Contes@gmail.com.
FanDuel TV Strikes Deal With ONE Championship Martial Arts
“We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”
FanDuel TV and ONE Championship Martial Arts have struck a deal that will see the MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling series air weekly events on the newly launched channel.
“We’re eager to continue expanding the variety of content we’re offering at FanDuel TV to introduce our audience to emerging sports,” said FanDuel Chief Commercial Officer Mike Raffensperger. “We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”
ONE Championship is a top-five global sports property for digital viewership and engagement according to Nielsen measurements.
“We are thrilled to join the FanDuel TV lineup and give our passionate U.S. audience yet another way to engage with ONE Championship,” said ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. “Having a quality partner in FanDuel will help raise the profile of our company in the region and provide their viewers with action-packed martial arts events like they have never seen before.”
Bob Costas Re-Lives First Announcing Assignment For NBC
“My biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979.”
Legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas appeared on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes Thursday to discuss the death of Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. But before the conversation turned to the recently departed pitcher, the show asked Costas about what he has announced that would surprise someone. He reminisced about his first time on the air for NBC.
“My very first assignment for NBC, my biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979,” Costas recounted. “There was a program on NBC then called Sports World. It was an anthology series that was their answer to the gold standard, ABC’s Wide World of Sports.
“So they traveled the globe, like Wide World of Sports did. So they sent me, wearing a red NBC jacket, to Tokyo to cover a sumo wrestling tournament with seven-time world power-lifting champion Larry Pacifico as my color man. Now, this is all the Japanese I learned as we came on the air: ‘Minasan kon’nichwa watashinoamaeha Bob Costas’, which means ‘Hello everyone, my name is Bob Costas’. If ever there was typecasting, when they sat and looked at their roster of announcers and went ‘Who should we send to the sumo wrestling? It’s gotta be Costas, who’s entire body weight would constitute one meal for the sumo wrestling champion.”
Costas departed NBC Sports in 2019 after 40 years with the network, announcing MLB, NBA, and the Olympics, in addition to his work with the network’s sumo wrestling coverage.
Matt Leinart, Alex Smith Make Wager Over Pac-12 Championship Game
“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous. I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.”
FOX Sports analyst Matt Leinart and ESPN analyst Alex Smith have made a friendly wager over the upcoming Pac-12 Championship Game.
USC, Leinart’s alma mater, is slated to play Utah, where Smith attended, in the game Friday evening on FOX from Las Vegas.
The two agreed to don the other player’s jersey. “At least it will be 11,” Smith said, noting he and Leinart both wore the number during their playing days.
“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous,” Leinart said when presented with the offer. “I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.” Smith jokingly responded by calling USC “Free Agent University”. He added he would overnight Leinart a jersey to ensure he had one if the Utes were victorious.
Garrett Searight is the Editor of Barrett Sports Media and Barrett News Media. He previously was the Program Director and Afternoon Co-Host on 93.1 The Fan in Lima, OH. He is also a play-by-play announcer for TV and Radio broadcasts in Western Ohio.