Thom Brennaman

Suspended Cincinnati Reds' announcer and former Arizona Diamondbacks' announcer Thom Brennaman.

The Arizona Diamondbacks’ 2020 could be compared to a yo-yo:  they’re up, then they’re down, then they’re up, then they’re down . . . You get the idea.

As of Aug. 23, the D-Backs are back in the cellar of the National League West with a 13-16 record. They did manage to put together a five-game winning streak, only to then start a new losing streak. If this keeps up, it will be a frustrating season for the fans.

It could be worse. It seems like everyone in the National League and American League Central Divisions is picking on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Their record is 7-17. I suspect fans in Pittsburgh are glad this will be a short season.

A former D-Backs’ announcer was in the news this past week, and not in a good way. Thom Brennaman called the D-Backs’ games in the 2000s before he went to Cincinnati to work with his dad, legendary Reds’ broadcaster Marty Brennaman.

Brennaman was behind the microphone when Randy Johnson threw his perfect game in 2004.

On Wednesday, Aug. 19, Brennaman was calling a double-header between the Reds and Kansas City Royals. He said a word considered a slur against gay men when he thought his microphone was off. Before the end of the double header, he’d been suspended as play-by-play man by the Reds. He was also fired from being on Fox Sports’ NFL broadcasts.

Brennaman has apologized, but a lot of people aren’t buying it. These days, if you say something like that, it will get you cast into the outer darkness and into the lake of fire, where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Okay, so it’s not that bad, but I suspect that’s what it feels like.

Given the almost casual way in which Brennaman used the word, some have come to question what the climate is like for the Reds’ broadcast crew. He obviously felt comfortable with using that word in a work setting with his co-workers.

Maybe Brennaman needs to get to know some people who are gay. That’s what has happened in my life, and I’m glad it did. There’s nothing quite like getting to know someone personally to help one see how ridiculous bigotry really is.

Of course, there have been other incidents where announcers said something they shouldn’t have when they thought their microphones were off. I’m sure D-Backs’ fans remember when Mark Grace thought he was talking to the crew in the broadcast truck and said the Queen Mother of All Dirty Words a few times. He didn’t know the link was faulty and what he said went out over the air!

I understand they got over a dozen e-mails in the broadcast booth in the first five minutes after that incident. One person objected strongly to Grace’s language. The others were all variations on, “Someone better tell Gracie his microphone is still on.”

I think Brennaman should be punished for what he said. He works for the Reds and Fox Sports Ohio, and it reflects badly on them. What I’d like to know, however, is why is it okay for rap artists to use far worse and degrading language in their songs? Why is that called “art” and “culture,” and why am I, as a white person, not allowed to criticize it?

Whatever happens, I’m sure Brennman is about to find out who his real friends are.


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