So Many Unanswered Questions After Thom Brennaman's Suspension

Aug 20, 2020

The day after the Reds suspended TV announcer Thom Brennaman – in the middle of the game! – we  have many questions and no answers. 

After the game, the Reds announced it was "devastated by the horrific, homophobic remark" made by Brennaman, 56, who has done baseball play-by-play for 33 years, including since 2007 with the Reds. And Fox Sports has dropped him for NFL games this fall because of his comment. 

However, the Reds also said they "will be addressing our broadcasting team in the coming days." About what, specifically?

We also want to know:

--What was Thom talking about when he used a slur usually directed at gay men while referring to "the (deleted) capitols of the world?"

--With whom was he speaking? Obviously it was someone he was comfortable with to make such a comment in casual conversation. Was he talking to the director? Producer? Reds TV teammates Jim Day (who took over the play-by-play) or analyst Chris Welsh, who did both games of the Reds doubleheader for Fox Sports Ohio from its downtown Cincinnati studio?

--Was the word only heard on the MLB.TV online telecast? Or did the Fox Sports Ohio cable channel air it to all Fox Sports Cincinnati viewers? I've seen it reported both ways. Who heard it?

When I asked those questions to FSO, Cleveland-based Fox publicist Kate Zelasko replied, "Thanks Kiese. We don't have any further details at this time."

--Why did the Reds and FSO wait until the fifth inning of game two to have Brennaman issue his very emotional apology for a remark he made during game one, reportedly more than two hours earlier?

--Why did the Reds wait til nearly midnight, about 2-1/2 hours after Brennaman's removal from the telecast, to announce "the Cincinnati Reds organization is devastated by the horrific, homophobic remark" and that Brennaman was "immediately… suspended from doing Reds broadcasts?"

--Who decided that Brennaman should make his apology during the game, instead of a commercial break? He had to interrupt his apology to call Nick Castellanos'  home run.

--How many times has a play-by-play announcer been removed and replaced during the broadcast for making an offensive remark?

--Hadn't Thom learned about "hot" microphones from his famous father, Hall of Fame Reds baseball announcer Marty Brennaman? Marty told Enquirer columnist Paul Daughertyy about saying "kiss my a—" into a live mic while rehearsing a University of Kentucky basketball game in 1988. Marty also was heard using foul language in the Reds radio booth on a Lexington station during an advertising break once when the Reds' Lexington affiliate failed to air a local commercial. That was in the late 1980s or early 1990s.

--One last question, and it pains me to ask since I'm a fellow Ohio University graduate: Don't they teach you at OU to consider every microphone live, or a "hot" mic? Isn't that covered in Broadcasting 101? On the first day?