Thom Brennaman

Cincinnati Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Cincinnati Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman, who graduated from Ohio University in 1986, was suspended indefinitely from calling the baseball team’s games Wednesday after using a homophobic slur on-air.

Brennaman, who’s considered by many to be a high-profile graduate of the university, was heard off-camera saying, “one of the fag capitals of the world” just after a commercial break in the seventh inning of a Reds game against The Kansas City Royals.

“We are aware of this disappointing situation. Acts of discrimination and bias are unacceptable and have no place at Ohio University. They are antithetical to our core values of respect for all individuals,” an OU spokesperson Carly Leatherwood said in a statement of Brennaman’s comment.

“As President Nellis said in his State of the University address [Friday], we expect and demand that all Bobcats model inclusivity, and we are committed to continuing work to end bigotry through education and dialogue.”

Brennaman’s use of the slur was condemned on Twitter by the official accounts of the Reds, which called his remark “horrific,” and by Fox Sports Ohio, where he also broadcasts.

Evan Millward, an OU graduate who anchors Cincinnati’s WCPO TV station and a member of the LGBTQ community, published a column on WCPO’s website Wednesday questioning why Brennaman would use homophobic language.

“Let me be clear: Dropping the f-bomb when you stub your toe is a slip. Using the word ‘fag’ is a choice … from one broadcaster — and one Ohio Bobcat — to another, I’m disappointed. I feel a little betrayed. I’m sad. Again. And I just want to understand why,” Millward wrote.

Brennaman, who initially apologized on-air for using the slur, saying “I don’t know if I’m gonna be putting on this headset again,” published an apology column Thursday in The Cincinnati Enquirer.

“To the LGBTQ+ community – I am truly and deeply sorry. You should never be denigrated with crude and hateful language. I failed you, and I cannot say enough how sorry I am,” he wrote.

Millward said in a tweet on Thursday that Brennaman called him for a brief conversation about the situation and to read him a draft of the Enquirer column before it was published.

“I talked, he listened. He talked, I listened. He read me a draft of this letter. Our time had to be very short — but we’ve made plans to sit down human-to-human soon,” the tweet said.

In his Enquirer column, Brennaman said with the help of Millward and others:

“I am 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,” he wrote. “I immediately plan to participate in diversity, equity and inclusion training and have reached out to PFLAG for resources and guidance.”

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