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A Major League Baseball (MLB) announcer has been suspended, after he was replaced in the middle of a game after being heard making a homophobic slur.
Cincinnati Reds announcer Thom Brennaman was covering a double-header between the team and the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday when the incident occurred.
During the broadcast, Mr Brennaman was caught on one of the microphones saying that an unspecified city is “one of the f** capitals of the world.”
His comments quickly spread on social media, and the announcer attempted to apologise during the second game when he told the audience he was going to be replaced for the rest of the fixture.
While announcing a home run, Mr Brennaman said: “I made a comment earlier tonight that I guess went out over the air that I am deeply ashamed of.
“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. I don’t know if I’m going to be putting on this headset again.”
The broadcaster added: “I don’t know if it’s going to be for the Reds. I don’t know if it’s going to be for my bosses at Fox. I want to apologise 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.”
Broadcaster Jim Day then took over for the remainder of the game, and said: “You’re a good man, partner,” before he added: “Hang in there,” as he started his commentary.
Mr Brennaman is the son of Marty Brennaman, who did play-by-play for the Reds for more than 40 years, before he retired last year.
His comments were condemned on social media, and Chris Seelbach, Cincinnati’s first openly gay person elected to the city’s council, said: “It’s incredibly disappointing to hear Mr Brennaman use such language of hate when our country is begging for unity.”
He added: “The Brennaman family are Cincinnati sports icons with a powerful voice in our community, which makes it even more disgusting and totally unprofessional to hear such language used.”
Reds pitcher Amir Garrett also condemned Mr Brennaman’s comments, and tweeted: “To the LGBTQ community just know I am with you, and whoever is against you, is against me. I’m sorry for what was said today.”
Later that night, the Reds announced that they had suspended Mr Brennaman, in a statement posted on the team’s official Twitter account.
“The Cincinnati Reds organisation is devastated by the horrific, homophobic remark made this evening by broadcaster Thom Brennaman,” the statement read. “He was pulled off the air, and effective immediately was suspended from doing Reds broadcasts.”
The team added: “In no way does this incident represent our players, coaches, organisation, or our fans. We share our sincerest apologies to the LGBTQ+ community in Cincinnati, Kansas City, all across this country, and beyond. The Reds embrace a zero-tolerance policy for bias or discrimination of any kind.”