In the end, Thom Brennaman did not get fired for his use of a homophobic slur on air. The outcome is still the expected one though. The Cincinnati Reds will be searching for a new play-by-play man for the 2021 season.
The broadcaster officially resigned his role with the Reds on Friday according to Evan Milward of Cincinnati’s ABC affiliate, WPCO-TV. He had been suspended from the broadcast team since August.
“My family and I have decided that I am going to step away from my role as the television voice of the Cincinnati Reds,” Brennaman’s statement to Milward reads. “I would like to thank the Reds, Reds fans and the LGBTQ Community for the incredible support and grace they have shown my family and me.”
How much the LGBTQ community in Cincinnati embraces Brennaman’s efforts to reconcile remains to be seen. Last month, Brennaman reached out to Milward, who is openly gay, to help him better understand the hurt using the slur caused.
Milward and Ryan Messer, one of the co-founders of Cincinnati’s Human Relations Commission have been meeting with Brennaman, and while both say he seems sincere in his desire to understand and make amends with the LGBTQ community, Messer has been clear that he doesn’t believe Brennaman’s claim that a television microphone just happened to catch him using the homophobic slur for the first time.
Since being suspended by the Reds and their television partner Fox Sports Ohio, Brennaman has also lost his role calling NFL games for FOX. He says that he hopes this is not the end of his broadcasting career.
“I have been in this profession that I love for 33 years. It is my hope and intention to return. And if I’m given that opportunity, I will be a better broadcaster and a much better person.”
The Reds issued a statement of their own. The team says Brennaman has its support and applauds his efforts to make amends with Cincinnati’s LGBTQ fans.
Scott Hanson Clarifies NFL RedZone Missteps During Raiders/Seahawks
Hanson believed in the moment that CBS was airing the overtime period to a national audience. But due to NFL broadcasting rules, the game was only available on select stations.
NFL RedZone host Scott Hanson ruffled feathers for many football fans Sunday when he told viewers to switch from the channel to their local CBS affiliates to see the conclusion of the Las Vegas Raiders and Seattle Seahawks game.
Unfortunately, for both viewers and Hanson, the game was only being shown in a small portion of the country, with the rest of the nation’s CBS affiliates already airing 60 Minutes. The game was also available to NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers.
Hanson took to Twitter Sunday evening to explain what happened on the air and to apologize for the miscalculation.
Hanson believed in the moment that CBS was airing the overtime period to a national audience. But due to NFL broadcasting rules, the game was only available to stations in the Las Vegas, Fresno, Sacramento, Reno, Eugene, Portland, Boise, Seattle, and Spokane markets on the west coast. Additionally, the game was available in Chicago, Tampa, Atlanta, and Charlotte.
He apologized for the mistake and said he would have more details at a later date.
ESPN Creates ACC/SEC Challenge
The series will begin for the 2023-2024 season, launching with 28 games played between the two sports.
ESPN, in conjunction with the ACC and SEC, is slated to announce the creation of the ACC/SEC Challenge for men’s and women’s basketball.
The series will begin for the 2023-2024 season, launching with 28 games played between the two sports. That number will grow to 30 contests when the SEC expands for the 2025-2026 season.
Every game in the challenge will be aired on an ESPN platform, with each side hosting the same amount of home games.
The creation of the event comes on the heels of the Big Ten’s new media rights deal with FOX, NBC, and CBS, ending a nearly four-decade relationship with ESPN. The ACC/Big Ten Challenge began in 1999, with the SEC/Big 12 Challenging beginning in 2013. Both events will cease to exist following this season.
FOX Sports Sees Record-Setting Ratings Weekend
The World Cup matchup between the U.S. and England on Black Friday and Michigan/Ohio State on Saturday saw tens of millions of viewers tuning in.
FOX Sports has been home to a number of record-setting games in terms of viewership over the last several days.
In addition to FOX Sports setting a new mark for a Thanksgiving and regular season NFL audience, the World Cup matchup between the U.S. and England on Black Friday and Michigan/Ohio State on Saturday saw tens of millions of viewers tuning in.
The network reported the U.S./England match in the group stage of the 2022 World Cup averaged 15.377 million. It was the most-watched English-language soccer game in the U.S. ever, topping the 1994 World Cup final between Italy and Brazil.
Viewership of the match was up 11% compared to the second group stage contest for the U.S. team in 2014 against Portugal. The audience peaked at 19.646 million from 3:30-3:45 p.m.
FOX Sports also reported the Michigan/Ohio State game on Saturday drew in 17 million, which made it the most-watched regular season college game on the network ever. That figure was also the highest of any regular season contest since 2011. That game also saw the audience peak at 19.6 million.
Viewership for the game was up 3% compared to last year.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.