Former Cincinnati Reds and FOX play-by-play broadcaster Thom Brennaman has been calling high school football games, hosting a podcast and occasionally discussing how things have gone since he apologized for using a homophobic slur on the air last season and did not return to either job.
In July, he appeared on The Josh Potter Show and discussed a number of subjects, including being able to accept people's jokes about the now-famous "drive into deep left field by Castellanos" call he made during his on-air apology.
In a new sportsbroadcastjournal.com interview with David J. Halberstam that follows Halberstam's column insisting that Brennaman's "career was destroyed with impunity and through a typical rush to judgment," Brennaman offered the following opinions and observations:
* Many people tell Brennaman they wish he was back and they miss him.
If I’m in the grocery or getting a cup of coffee at the local convenient shop, 99% of those I bump into, I’ll hear, ‘We wish you were back, we miss you!’ Let’s say it’s even 90%. Are execs going to make a decision to appease the 10%? Wouldn’t you listen to the massive 90%?
* Brennaman misses football more than baseball.
Football. I liked the broadcast team with which I worked. I loved Chris Spielman like my own brother.
* Broadcasting remotely is here to stay.
I didn’t miss not traveling, not an iota. Arriving in towns at 2:30 am, no. MLB does enough to share needed information. In our studio, I had access to clear camera angles. They were sufficient. Sometimes, it was difficult to gauge fly balls but we got accustomed to it.
I’ll say this. I don’t think baseball teams, except a team here or there, will ever go on the road again. Baseball is a business. Traveling is costly. In addition to the on-air teams there are TV trucks and technical crews.
* Harry Caray and Marty Brennaman would have a tough time getting hired today.
Fans loved listening to Harry and my dad, Marty, here in Cincinnati. They had personality and freely expressed their opinions. But they weren’t afraid to be critical of their hometown players. They’d call guys out for not hustling. I believe that they’d have trouble getting hired today. Today, teams want everything so homogenized.
* The remark "on the TV pre-game show" was made when Brennaman wasn't aware they were on the air ... it "wasn't on-air."
On the TV pre-game show, when I wasn’t aware that we on the air but when my mic was hot, I made a homophobic remark. Although it wasn’t on-air, the clip made its way to the internet and went viral from there. There’s no defending the word I used in any form or fashion. I’ve owned up to it every second since.
* Reds owner Bob Castellini reached out.
We were broadcasting remotely. The game was in Kansas City. Leaving the studio in Cincinnati, I get a call from Bob Castellini, the owner of the Reds. He said, ‘Look, we know the kind of man you are. We have your back on this. Don’t worry about it. Everything will be okay.’
On my way home, I called my wife and told her that in a few hours Bob’s tenor on this may very well change as he’ll be inundated with the issue and that I would be fired. In a couple hours, I was suspended by the Reds.
* Brennaman thought FOX would hire him back before the Reds.
I actually thought that Fox would be first. I explained to sports head Eric Shanks what I did, how I’ve cultivated relationships, how I’ve grown and more. But when my contract was up, Fox didn’t come through. It was about six months after the incident and Fox had an opportunity to make a statement. I reviewed what I’ve done and my accomplishments. But it didn’t work out.
* On (former Sacramento Kings broadcaster) Grant Napear ...
How do you justify it? What did he do? If we live in an environment that BLM matters, don’t all lives matter? That makes you a racist? How ludicrous is that? Napear is one of the great guys in our business.
* Bob Costas has helped, and said the crime doesn't match the punishment.
Although I’ve met Bob several times since, I can’t say I know him well. But Costas has been amazingly helpful.
He’s told me that the crime doesn’t match the punishment.
In the column preceding the interview, Halberstam referred to Brennaman's homophobic remark as "a damning anti-gay slur with a reference to San Francisco."
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