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For more than 30 years, John Kiesewetter has been the source for information about all things in local media – comings and goings, local people appearing on the big or small screen, special programs, and much more. Local media is still his beat and he’s bringing his interest, curiosity, contacts and unique style to Cincinnati Public Radio and 91.7 WVXU. Contact John at johnkiese@yahoo.com.

Thom Brennaman Resigns From Reds TV Team

Courtesy Fox Sports
Thom Brennaman resigned as Reds TV voice Friday, Sept. 25, five weeks after his suspension.

Thom Brennaman, who was suspended mid-game five weeks ago for making a homophobic slur,  has resigned his Cincinnati Reds TV job after 13 years.

"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, 56, wrote Friday in a letter obtained by WVXU.

"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," Brennaman said in the letter first reported by WCPO-TV's Evan Millward. Reds TV and radio announcers are employed by the club.

"To this great city, my hometown, a sincere thank you. I truly regret what I said and I'm so very sorry. No one loves this town more than me," said the Anderson High School graduate and son of Hall of Fame Reds radio announcer Marty Brennaman.

"I have been in this profession that I love for 33 years. And 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."

Reds CEO Bob Castellini said Friday that the "Reds respect Thom Brennaman's decision to step away from the broadcast booth and applaud his heartfelt efforts of reconciliation with the LGBTQ+ community. The Brennaman family has been an intrinsic part of the Reds history for nearly 50 years. We sincerely thank Thom for bringing the excitement of Reds baseball to millions of fans during his years in the booth. And, we appreciate the warm welcome Thom showed our fans at Redsfest and on the Reds Caravan. He's a fantastic talent and a good man who remains a part of the Reds family forever. We wish him well."

Brennaman made his decision public after the Reds had gone to Minnesota for the final weekend series as which will determine whether the team advances to the post-season.

He was suspended during the second game of a Reds-Royals doubleheader Wednesday, Aug. 19, for remarks he made during the first game. Coming out of a commercial break, Brennaman was heard telling someone about "the (deleted) capitols of the world" while broadcasting from Fox Sports studio in downtown Cincinnati. The person Brennaman was speaking to has never been identified by FSO or the Reds.

The remark was heard on the MLB.TV feed, but not by Reds' Fox Sports Ohio network viewers.

He was pulled off the air after he apologized by saying he was "very, very sorry, and I beg for your forgiveness." He also told viewers that "I don't know if I'll be putting on this headset again. 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."

Brennaman's resignation was not a surprise. Hours after his departure, the Reds issued a statement saying that the "Reds embrace a zero-tolerance policy for bias or discrimination of any kind, and we are truly sorry to anyone who has been offended."

The statement also said the "Reds organization is devastated by the horrific, homophobic remark"  and apologized to the "the LGBTQ+ community in Cincinnati, Kansas City, all across this country and beyond."

The next day, Brennaman sent an apology letter to WCPO-TV, the Cincinnati Enquirer and other media outlets. "I cannot erase what I have done. The only thing I can do is humbly apologize, accept the consequences of my actions and resolve to be better and behave differently from now on," Brennaman wrote in August.

The reaction to his remark was swift. Kroger pulled his in-store audio announcements the next morning. That afternoon Fox dropped him from NFL telecasts this fall, after 25 years.

He had been a Fox NFL announcer since Fox Broadcasting's inaugural pro football telecasts in 1994, and also broadcast many college football bowl games and college basketball games for Fox. He started his baseball broadcasting career doing Reds TV games for flagship WLWT-TV in 1989, before going to the Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks. 

"I am grateful for the forgiveness so many have extended to me, especially those in the LGBTQ community who I have met, spoken with and listened to almost daily over the last five weeks," he wrote Friday. "With their continued guidance, I hope to be a voice for positive change. Thank you."

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.