Thom Brennaman will not be calling NFL games for Fox Sports this season. After he made a homophobic slur on a hot mic during a Cincinnati Reds broadcast on Wednesday evening, Fox Sports made the decision to not have him return as part of the NFL broadcasting team. Brennaman was the play-by-play announcer for Fox Sports' No. 3 NFL announcer team last year with Chris Spielman and Shannon Spake.
"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 calling NFL games for Fox since 1994, the first year the network began broadcasting NFL games. He also called Major League Baseball games for Fox from 1996 to 2014.
Brennaman said the homophobic slur on Fox Sports Ohio as he was coming back from a commercial break before the seventh inning. He has been suspended from working Reds games, and the team released a statement apologizing for the incident. Brennaman made an on-air apology and wrote one for The Cincinnati Enquirer.
"I used a word that is both offensive and insulting," Brennaman wrote. "In the past 24 hours, I have read about its history; I had no idea it was so rooted in hate and violence and am particularly ashamed that I, someone who makes his living by the use of words, could be so careless and insensitive. It’s a word that should have no place in my vocabulary and I will certainly never utter it again."
Brennaman went on to write he "cannot erase" what he's done and can "only humbly apologize, accept the consequences of my actions and resolve to be better and behave differently from now on." He also apologized to the LGBTQ+ community, writing he's "deeply sorry" and he's "failed you." He also sent messages to Reds fans and Major League Baseball. Brennaman then said he's 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." Brennaman, 56, has been part of the Reds' announcing team since 2007. He's the son of Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman who called Reds games from 1974 to 2019.