At the height of maybe the most tense era in several generations in the United States, former MLB and NFL broadcaster Thom Brennaman was caught using a homophobic slur on a hot mic Aug. 19, 2020.
The incident resulted in the viral “drive into deep left by [Nick] Castellanos” meme.
And Brenneman has not called a professional sport since, being replaced by John Sadak for the Cincinnati Reds and Kevin Kugler for NFL broadcasts.
“I made a comment earlier tonight that I guess went out over the air that I am deeply ashamed of,” Brennaman said on that broadcast.
“If I have hurt anyone out there, I can’t tell you how much I say from the bottom of my heart I’m so very, very sorry. I pride myself and think of myself as a man of faith … as there’s a drive into deep left field by Castellanos. It will be a home run. And so that will make it a 4–0 ballgame.
“I don’t know if I’m gonna be putting on this headset again. … I want to apologize for the people who sign my paycheck – for the Reds, for Fox Sports Ohio, for the people I work with, for anybody that I’ve offended here tonight. I can’t begin to tell you how deeply sorry I am. That is not who I am. It never has been. And I’d like to think maybe I could have some people … that could back that up. I am very, very sorry, and I beg for your forgiveness.”
Brennaman reflected on the moment while speaking with OutKick’s Dan Dakich.
“I got a text from my boss, and it’s a clip of what went out over the air. It was off of MLB.TV, so people all over the world, if they subscribe to MLB.TV, they saw it, they heard it,” Brennaman said.
“I knew that my career was crumbling right before my very eyes. I did the best I could on live TV to apologize. … I thought maybe I’d have a chance, get suspended, maybe come back for the Reds. But within 10 hours after that happened, I had been fired from everything.
“I went from making a really good living, thank God above, to literally making nothing the next day.”
Brennaman says he has met with prominent gay members in the sports world to “right my wrongs,” including “Moneyball” aficionado Billy Beane, some of whom have forgiven him.
Even though Brennaman’s only play-by-play gigs since have been with the Roberto Clemente League in Puerto Rico and high school sports in the Cincinnati area, he says his life has changed for the better.
“I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. I’m the most blessed human being in the world,” he said, citing his 23-year marriage and two children.
Brennaman says losing his job resulted in him spending more time with his family, like moving his daughter into college and watching more of his son’s lacrosse games.
“My wife and I got to do things we’d never get to do,” he added.
The 60-year-old admitted he’d like another chance, but is “at total peace” if he doesn’t.
“There is no doubt this happened for a reason. I really believe it’s part of a bigger plan. I may not like the timing of the plan, and I try to do my best not to think I’m smarter than God above. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, I’m good, totally good. And been totally blessed through this whole thing.
“I would not change the last three years of my life to have my career back. I wouldn’t do it.”