Fox Sports will not include Thom Brennaman in its NFL broadcast team this fall after he was heard using an anti-LGBTQ slur on a hot mic Wednesday.
"FOX Sports is extremely disappointed with Thom Brennaman's remarks during Wednesday's Cincinnati Reds telecast," the network said in a statement, per USA Today's Chris Bumbaca. "The language used was abhorrent, unacceptable, and not representative of the values of FOX Sports. As it relates to Brennaman's FOX NFL role, we are moving forward with our NFL schedule which will not include him."
Brennaman, the Reds' play-by-play announcer, also calls Fox NFL games.
The hot mic incident occurred as a Fox Sports Ohio broadcast returned from a commercial break before the seventh inning in the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader between the Reds and Royals. The full context of the audio is unclear, and it is also unknown if Brennaman was aware that his microphone was on.
Brennaman remained on air for the start of the second game, but he was removed mid-game from the broadcast. The Reds later released a statement apologizing for Brennaman's comments and said the announcer has been suspended indefinitely.
"The Cincinnati Reds organization is devastated by the horrific, homophobic remark made this evening by broadcaster Thom Brennaman. He was pulled off the air, and effective immediately was suspended from doing Reds broadcasts," the team said. "We will be addressing our broadcasting team in the coming days. In no ways does this incident represent our players, coaches, organization 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, and we are truly sorry to anyone who has been offended."
Brennaman offered an apology for his comments during the top of the fifth inning, after which he left the broadcast and was replaced by Jim Day.
"I made a comment earlier tonight that I guess went out over the air that I am deeply ashamed of," Brennaman said. "If I hurt anyone out there, I can't tell you how much I say from the bottom of my heart, I am very, very sorry.
"I don't know if I'll be putting on this headset again. I don't know if it's gonna be for the Reds, I don't know if it'll be for my bosses at FOX. I want to apologize to the people who sign my paycheck, to the Reds, to FOX Sports Ohio, to the people I work with or anybody that I've offended 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 paused during his apology to call Nicholas Castellanos's home run to lead off the fifth inning. He then continued before turning the broadcast over to Day.
After the game, Reds pitcher Amir Garrett also offered an apology to fans on social media on behalf of the organization, saying he stands with the LGBTQ community.