Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman suspended for on-air homophobic epithet

Red(s)HawksFan

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Eh. You risk offending the people who have been punched-down upon their whole lives if you let him back in after the 'anger has died down.' Screw Thom Brennaman. He likely tied that knot a thousand times before and somebody probably hot mic'd him to slip it around his neck.

Good riddance.
Who said anything about letting him in "after the anger has died down"? My point (as it was my post joe dokes was calling "about right") was that if he truly shows contrition, his future in the business can be re-evaluated down the road. But for the time being, he's out and he doesn't get to come back unless he, at minimum, shows true remorse and true attempts to make amends. If he does that and it's not considered enough, then he keeps sitting out.
 

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I mean, the defenses of Brennaman here all contain anecdotes of "back in the 80's" and "back when I was a kid."

Thom Brennaman is a 56 year old man living in the year of somebody's lord 2020. Why is anybody defending this man.

This 56 year old white man, who only has his job because of his dad, trying to explain this away by saying: "But I'm a man of faith, by the way that's a home run, did I mention the faith," is not the party deserving of our sympathy in this situation. We should instead be like, "how many other workplaces does this happen all of the time, and nobody will ever see it because it's not in the public eye."

It's almost like people aren't thinking about the fact that this was a man who was working. He was at his workplace when this happened. This is not some invasion into his personal life. He fucked up while he was on the clock.

That is not "cancel culture." That is "being held accountable for your actions."
 

cornwalls@6

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Shot in the dark, but given that they're in Ohio he could've been talking about Columbus.
Not that it matters, but I’ve seen some chatter today on Facebook that he may have been riffing on a joke from Blazing Saddles about Kansas City? I googled and found a YouTube clip that maybe was plausible, though I won’t post it due the language in it. Either way, it’s 2020, he’s at his place of work, and using that word is inexcusable in any context.
 

SemperFidelisSox

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What are acceptable acts of attrition in a situation like this. I’m just curious. Donating money to LGBTQ charities? Meeting with members and leaders of the gay community?
 

Marciano490

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Two points:

1. People that decry cancel culture act like there are criminal sanctions. The dude lost his cushy job talking about sports. He went home that night. He can go scoop ice cream or clean toilets or skin fish or any other job that I and a bunch of other people have done in their lives. Actions have consequences. And so it goes.

2. Cancel culture decriers also always focus on the effect on the person being canceled. What about the effect on the group being slurred? If Thom isn’t fired, what’s that say to the gay community? “Canceling” isn’t just about retribution, it’s about sending a message to people being degraded that they count and that society is finally willing to stand up for them.
 

PC Drunken Friar

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What are acceptable acts of attrition in a situation like this. I’m just curious. Donating money to LGBTQ charities? Meeting with members and leaders of the gay community?
I think Michael Vick may be a good example? Heinous acts committed. Paid for it with his freedom and then actively sought out how to help out. I know many activists question his motivations, but he has tried to make amends.

Edit: but even here, using Vick isn't a great example. I can't think of the equivalent to helping pass legislation for LGBTQ issues, as they really don't need an ally like this (typing that out seems ridiculous to say, but would the community really find something useful for him?).
 

Leather

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If I uttered that word at work, say on a conference call that I thought was muted, I would be suspended at a minimum and 50%/50% to be fired. And my career in that area would be severely curtailed for at least a decade.

There’s no excuse to be saying that shit, much less at work. I used that word too, 25 years ago, as a general insult. Once you understand, *really* understand why it’s hurtful and, frankly, stupid, it’s very easy to stop using it. It’s not like giving up cigarettes or coffee, it’s just telling yourself it’s really not ok anymore. Anyone still throwing around words like that are signaling who they really are.
 

cornwalls@6

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If I uttered that word at work, say on a conference call that I thought was muted, I would be suspended at a minimum and 50%/50% to be fired. And my career in that area would be severely curtailed for at least a decade.

There’s no excuse to be saying that shit, much less at work. I used that word too, 25 years ago, as a general insult. Once you understand, *really* understand why it’s hurtful and, frankly, stupid, it’s very easy to stop using it. It’s not like giving up cigarettes or coffee, it’s just telling yourself it’s really not ok anymore. Anyone still throwing around words like that are signaling who they really are.
100%. I’m exactly Brennaman’s age. Grew up in various white suburbs, high school jock culture, more or less the same in college. I said and laughed at stupid frat boy humor bullshit that makes me cringe now. And used that word as an insult too many times. Made me cringe by the time I was pushing thirty. It’s mind boggling, and pathetic when I still occasionally run into an old classmate or acquaintance who’s completely stalled in that mentality. Brennaman seems like one of those.
 

Average Reds

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He was the absolute worst at turning a mental error or a failure of one of "the little things" into a morality tale worthy of Davey & Goliath.

And that Manny clip had the added benefit of sing-songy, moralizing high-waister Rick Sutcliffe.
Sounded like Psycho Lyons to me.

Edit: Looked it up. Lyons it is.

What are acceptable acts of attrition in a situation like this. I’m just curious. Donating money to LGBTQ charities? Meeting with members and leaders of the gay community?
He could start by resigning. Then doing some charity work. Then, after an appropriate amount of time (couple of years?) he can re-apply for a broadcaster job.
 
Last edited:

Fratboy

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Brennaman apologizes to the LGBTQ+ community, asks for forgiveness.

He says all the right things here, but his immediate response still feels shallow and gutless to me. It's disappointing to see people here, some I have a great deal of respect for, giving him a free pass on this, but that's not unexpected.

When people tell you who they are, believe them. We've learned that lesson many times over the last several years, and today's no exception.
 

PC Drunken Friar

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Brennaman apologizes to the LGBTQ+ community, asks for forgiveness.

He says all the right things here, but his immediate response still feels shallow and gutless to me. It's disappointing to see people here, some I have a great deal of respect for, giving him a free pass on this, but that's not unexpected.

When people tell you who they are, believe them. We've learned that lesson many times over the last several years, and today's no exception.
At least he didn't use the Blazing Saddles excuse. And to say that in the last 24 hours he has done "his research" on the word...and using 2 homosexual men as a "hey, I know gay people" is insulting. Honestly, saying you don't understand how offensive that word is in 2020 is as bad as not knowing how offensive the N word is.
 

Average Reds

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That's fair. Appreciate the response and your engagement. Also, respect.

Let me ask you though: What if that "private" conversation was recorded and played publicly? You've "talked shit" about a student. Would that sound byte accurately sum up your years of dedication and teaching experience? Would it represent your TRUE feelings toward the student and your undoubted dedication towards your profession? I'm guessing you would be mortified to hear that recording being played for the public. I know I would if some of my more colorful phrases were ever used out of context. It's a fascinating concept. I appreciate the opportunity to have an adult/rational discussion about the nuances of these issues. Thanks!
Brennaman wasn't having a private conversation that was surreptitiously recorded. Frankly, the analogy is somewhat offensive.

He is a veteran broadcaster who was mic'd up for the game and knows damn well that anything he says might go out over the air. There is not a single good excuse for his actions.

He should resign. Failing that, he should be fired.
 

Fratboy

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That's fair. Appreciate the response and your engagement. Also, respect.

Let me ask you though: What if that "private" conversation was recorded and played publicly? You've "talked shit" about a student. Would that sound byte accurately sum up your years of dedication and teaching experience? Would it represent your TRUE feelings toward the student and your undoubted dedication towards your profession? I'm guessing you would be mortified to hear that recording being played for the public. I know I would if some of my more colorful phrases were ever used out of context. It's a fascinating concept. I appreciate the opportunity to have an adult/rational discussion about the nuances of these issues. Thanks!
While I appreciate you pulling back the curtain (wocka wocka!) on Hot Doc Talk, the situations are a bit different: You're talking about it in doctor's only quarters, the cafeteria, or whatever. It would be like you're in a patient's room, using that language when you think they're sleeping, but they're actually awake, and can hear every word you say. And you're probably smart enough not to think about doing that.

Thom didn't do that. He didn't do it in the bathroom, or out at dinner with some privacy. No, he did it in the fucking broadcast booth, which is a PLACE KNOWN TO HAVE RECORDING DEVICES. Maybe it's just me, but you should be a professional once you step in there, and conduct yourself in professional ways. He clearly doesn't, didn't, or got lazy and let his guard down.

Either way, his words reveal who he is. Words have consequences.
 

fiskful of dollars

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Brennaman wasn't having a private conversation that was surreptitiously recorded. Frankly, the analogy is somewhat offensive.

He was mic'd up for the game and has enough experience to know that anything he says might go out over the air. There is not a single good excuse for his actions.

He should resign. Failing that, he should be fired.
Fair enough. I'm not sure what the distinction is from an ethical perspective. If the verbiage itself is offensive (which we all agree), does it matter if the conversation was "private" or that he thought the conversation was private? Clearly, an experienced public speaker should know better but does that really matter? Is he more culpable because of his position than, say, someone who is unaware that he is being recorded? Hmm, that's an interesting twist. I don't know the answer but it's an interesting consideration.

No one is giving him a pass. Except Curt Schilling, maybe. I certainly do not give him a pass. It's just that I am sometimes troubled with the public's rush to judgment. We have ALL put our foot in our mouths at one time or another. We all say things in anger or frustration or simple stupidity that we wish we could take back. Sometimes these things get recorded. The person is then branded as a racist, sexist, homophobe, etc. We throw these labels around like we're immune to any human foibles ourselves...It smacks of sanctimonious hypocrisy - sometimes. Sometimes it is a truly revealing lapse. I just want us to be a tiny bit willing to accept that people may make mistakes but that doesn't necessarily define them.

Edit: punctuation
 

fiskful of dollars

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I don't know. Maybe my sensitivity to verbal insults/slurs has been so blunted by 20+ years of Emergency Medicine (not to mention an alcoholic Irish Catholic family - where I was routinely referred to as "the little Word That Must Not Be Named"). When you get called a "C#$@sucker" at work at least 4-5 times a week, you get a thick skin?

I appreciate the restraint and civility. Peace.
 

Marciano490

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I don't know. Maybe my sensitivity to verbal insults/slurs has been so blunted by 20+ years of Emergency Medicine (not to mention an alcoholic Irish Catholic family - where I was routinely referred to as "the little Word That Must Not Be Named"). When you get called a "C#$@sucker" at work at least 4-5 times a week, you get a thick skin?

I appreciate the restraint and civility. Peace.
But..... cocksucker isn’t just an insult between straight friends or enemies, it’s an implicit and explicit damnation of gays. It’s like me saying I don't mind being called a Jewish slur.
 

Average Reds

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Fair enough. I'm not sure what the distinction is from an ethical perspective. If the verbiage itself is offensive (which we all agree), does it matter if the conversation was "private" or that he thought the conversation was private. Clearly, an experienced public speaker should know better but does that really matter? Is he more culpable because of his position than, say, someone who is unaware that he is being recorded? Hmm, that's an interesting twist. I don't know the answer but it's an interesting consideration.
He was not unaware that his words were being picked up by the mic. He assumed that the mic wasn’t “hot,” which is a very different mistake.

And yes, he is absolutely more culpable because of his broadcasting experience. Because he knows damn well that what happened to him happens regularly.

He was playing with fire because it amused him. The fact that he got burned is both predictable and just.

No one is giving him a pass. Except Curt Schilling, maybe. I certainly do not give him a pass. It's just that I am sometimes troubled with the public's rush to judgment. We have ALL put our foot in our mouths at one time or another. We all say things in anger or frustration or simple stupidity that we wish we could take back. Sometimes these things get recorded. The person is then branded as a racist, sexist, homophobe, etc. We throw these labels around like we're immune to any human foibles ourselves...It smacks of sanctimonious hypocrisy - sometimes. Sometimes it is a truly revealing lapse. I just want us to be a tiny bit willing to accept that people may make mistakes but that doesn't necessarily define them.
Brennaman didn’t say anything out of anger or frustration. He was using a homophobic slur to mock an entire town. And he’s being branded as a homophobic bigot because that’s what he clearly is.

Let me use myself as an example. I’m about the same age as Brennaman. And when I was younger - late teens to early 20s - I would often use the same slur Brennaman used. I have no excuse; I was simply an insecure young person acting like an ass.

I haven’t used that word in decades. (For good reason.) Brennaman using it on air at age 56 tells me all I need to know.
 

fiskful of dollars

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I was just generally responding to being called horrible names, not specifically anti-gay stuff. Should have picked a better example of the varied and colorful invectives lobbed my way over the years. Sometimes they hurt, especially when they say I'm fat. I'm not really fat, it's just scrubs aren't terribly flattering. I'm 5'11 -190, not too bad - BMI is about 27. They always say I'm fat, though.
 

deconstruction

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Maybe my sensitivity to homophobia is hightened, but when a heterosexual man says "one of the fag capitals of the world," he's cleary branded HIMSELF as a homophobe. It's much more than a foible. He didn't make a mistake. He said something intentional, even in private, that is homophobic.
 

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I was just generally responding to being called horrible names, not specifically anti-gay stuff. Should have picked a better example of the varied and colorful invectives lobbed my way over the years. Sometimes they hurt, especially when they say I'm fat. I'm not really fat, it's just scrubs aren't terribly flattering. I'm 5'11 -190, not too bad - BMI is about 27. They always say I'm fat, though.
Are these patients giving you shit? Wow, people are so weird, and stupid. And also, I'm sure you are dashing in scrubs.
 

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The more I read about this incident, the more I want to believe that someone who works with him was just tired of his off-air bigotry and oopsied the hot mic on purpose
 

Soxy

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I just want us to be a tiny bit willing to accept that people may make mistakes but that doesn't necessarily define them.
I think I grok where you're coming from in your argument, and I agree with the perspective that we shouldn't necessarily judge people simply by how they behave when they are at their worst. But we can only judge people on the evidence that we have in front of us.

All errors are not the same. There are degrees of fuck ups, and they get judged as such. This is a big fuck up.
 

wiffleballhero

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You’ve never spent much time in an ER have you? I’m not a doctor and I’ve only been there as a patient or escorting a patient but a few visits will show you he‘s not exaggerating.
Hardly any, and with one notable exception at Mass General, I don't ever recall finding myself in an ER at a time where the number of patients was high enough to make things seem frantic.

I am also, though, easily astonished by how terrible people sometimes are when speaking to someone from whom they need help.
 

EnochRoot

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The more I read about this incident, the more I want to believe that someone who works with him was just tired of his off-air bigotry and oopsied the hot mic on purpose
He was clearly comfortable enough to share his views with the people in the booth / on his feed. I can absolutely get onboard with the notion that somebody grew tired of his antics and basically opened the trapdoor so Brennaman would be left to swing on the gallows pole.
 

EnochRoot

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Who said anything about letting him in "after the anger has died down"? My point (as it was my post joe dokes was calling "about right") was that if he truly shows contrition, his future in the business can be re-evaluated down the road. But for the time being, he's out and he doesn't get to come back unless he, at minimum, shows true remorse and true attempts to make amends. If he does that and it's not considered enough, then he keeps sitting out.
I mean, at the end of the day, he was a second rate announcer who outed himself as a homophobe. There are many far better announcers ready to replace him.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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He was clearly comfortable enough to share his views with the people in the booth / on his feed. I can absolutely get onboard with the notion that somebody grew tired of his antics and basically opened the trapdoor so Brennaman would be left to swing on the gallows pole.
Right? This wasnt even some kind of secret, closeted homophobia. There was at least a dozen or two people that he was perfectly comfortable throwing that word in front of.

Fuck this guy.
 

barbed wire Bob

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Hardly any, and with one notable exception at Mass General, I don't ever recall finding myself in an ER at a time where the number of patients was high enough to make things seem frantic.

I am also, though, easily astonished by how terrible people sometimes are when speaking to someone from whom they need help.
It’s understandable when you think of a patient who is in pain, scared and just wants someone to fix it. Sometimes the pressure gets so high the relief valve has to pop and the doctor or the nurse is usually the person receiving the venting. My wife is a nurse and she has hundreds of stories about patients who acted badly in the hospital. And if you want to see something entertaining, visit an ER in a college town on a Saturday night. One time I had to go in on a Saturday for what was eventually diagnosed as blood clots in my groin. The other patients were a woman screaming for the morning after pill because she was sure she was pregnant (the condom broke), a drunk football player that got into a fist fight with a teammate and had a split lip (he was obnoxious and the doctor got so mad at him that he sewed up his lip without any numbing agent or anesthesia), another wacked-out, college aged male who the police brought In handcuffed to the gurney and a heart attack victim who was really whiny. I’m sure the ER docs on the board have a shit-ton of stories to tell.
 

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Right? This wasnt even some kind of secret, closeted homophobia. There was at least a dozen or two people that he was perfectly comfortable throwing that word in front of.

Fuck this guy.
Exactly. He said that *to* somebody, somebody who was going to clearly understand what he was saying, and wouldn't object to it. He knew what he was fucking doing.

Bye. Canceled.
 

FL4WL3SS

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Maybe my sensitivity to homophobia is hightened, but when a heterosexual man says "one of the fag capitals of the world," he's cleary branded HIMSELF as a homophobe. It's much more than a foible. He didn't make a mistake. He said something intentional, even in private, that is homophobic.
Bingo.

I don't think fiskfull of dollars would be singing the same tune if instead he had said "one of the n***** capitals of the world". It's such a ridiculous argument.

If I said a slur like that at work, I'd be fired too. Not sure why he gets a pass for making a 'mistake'. Fuck that guy. He gets to do the apology tour and probably get his job back. 99% of us wouldn't get that opportunity.

Also, @fiskful of dollars, maybe this is an opportunity for you to reflect on the locker room behavior in your ER and have a positive influence to change it. You can't be sure that there isn't at least ONE person there that is going along with the jokes, but it absolutely mortified in private. That's how people take their own lives, we've seen it in professional sports. It's probably time to do better.
 

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Couldn't they have started the broadcast early or come back from commercial a few seconds early?

It probably wasn't a nefarious truck employee, but it's fun to think about.
Thom didn't do that. He didn't do it in the bathroom, or out at dinner with some privacy. No, he did it in the fucking broadcast booth, which is a PLACE KNOWN TO HAVE RECORDING DEVICES. Maybe it's just me, but you should be a professional once you step in there, and conduct yourself in professional ways. He clearly doesn't, didn't, or got lazy and let his guard down.
He was not unaware that his words were being picked up by the mic. He assumed that the mic wasn’t “hot,” which is a very different mistake.

And yes, he is absolutely more culpable because of his broadcasting experience. Because he knows damn well that what happened to him happens regularly.

He was playing with fire because it amused him. The fact that he got burned is both predictable and just.
Red Sox fans ought to remember the Jerry Remy / Mike Lowell hot mike incident. Those of us old enough to remember Ronald Reagan ought to remember his Outlawing Russia Forever hot mike incident. Anyone who works with microphones for a living knows you have to assume they're hot, just like safety says you have to assume a gun is loaded.

"Predictable and just" nails it.
 

RGREELEY33

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The immediate reaction of these folks, in today’s world, who get caught saying horrible things is also telling. As others have said, when that reaction is “but, but, but, I’m a good guy and that’s not who I am and I go to church”, you know it is all bullshit and purely about their concern over losing something — job, standing, status, etc., and not about recognizing their mistake or shortcoming. It’s not different than all of these “Karens” saying “I’m not racist and anyone who knows me. . . .. “ after they do a bunch of racist shit.
 

fiskful of dollars

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Bingo.

I don't think fiskfull of dollars would be singing the same tune if instead he had said "one of the n***** capitals of the world". It's such a ridiculous argument.

If I said a slur like that at work, I'd be fired too. Not sure why he gets a pass for making a 'mistake'. Fuck that guy. He gets to do the apology tour and probably get his job back. 99% of us wouldn't get that opportunity.

Also, @fiskful of dollars, maybe this is an opportunity for you to reflect on the locker room behavior in your ER and have a positive influence to change it. You can't be sure that there isn't at least ONE person there that is going along with the jokes, but it absolutely mortified in private. That's how people take their own lives, we've seen it in professional sports. It's probably time to do better.
There's no "locker room" talk at my shop. We do a serious job and we all take it seriously. Wiping brains off of your shoes and making a stupid joke about it is more our speed. It would sound impossibly harsh and insensitive to someone who has never done it. We're not in there snapping towels at each other. We deal with death and abuse and a cavalcade of broken souls. Sometimes we cope in different ways. Humor is a fairly healthy one.
 

FL4WL3SS

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That's cool man, none of us are perfect. I'm as guilty as anyone to joke about inappropriate things.

It's just, well... You tried to justify his behavior by equating it to your ER talk. A guy that openly used a slur, and in a way that was derogatory towards an entire city of folks. Pretty aggressively.

What you described about your ER is literally not the same. Like, not even close. Unless it is and you're leaving that part out.

I dunno mate, maybe we don't need someone sticking up for this guy.
 

fiskful of dollars

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Right on.
For me, this is more about society's response to these types of issues. I literally know nothing about Thom Brennaman (I almost wrote TB - seemed weird) and I am most certainly NOT defending him - he was 10000% wrong, no mistake. I'm much more interested in the response(s) to this and similar episodes. I couldn't care less about Brennaman or this case in particular - except that I'm very saddened that these types of hurtful comments continue to wound innocent people. I admit, I have an old school rub some dirt on it attitude about many things - except fucking dogs, man. Anyway, it's been good (for me, at least) to get some feedback and dialogue about these issues.
 

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I think a comparison could be made between what Thom Brenneman said and what a tennis commentator Doug Adler said on ESPN a number of years . Adler was a commebtator on a Venus Williams match and described her playing style as using guerilla or sneaky tactics to beat her opponent. Unfortunately for Adler, a non sports writer who was a stringer for the NY Times thought he was calling Williams a gorilla. Even though some other tennis commentators had used the term guerilla to describe Williams style, the cancel culture (or the fore runners of it) immediately labeled Adler a racist and he was quickly fired by ESPN. If Adler did anything wrong, it was probably using a word that could be easily misunderstood. However, he got fired without even saying anything wrong. He did not use the f n or r words. Adler later sued ESPN and it was settled out of court. @Conigliaro's Potential have you heard or broadcast any matches with Adler?
Anyway my point is that Thom did not have a slip of the tongue. He meant it when he used that term and should suffer accordingly. Doug Adler has been unable to find any commentating jobs in tennis because he was labeled a racist for a simple misunderstanding. I would be fine if in addition to making contrition to LGBT+ groups, Thon never works in broadcasting ever again and his last job is as a cashier in Kroger.
 

brs3

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Fair enough. I'm not sure what the distinction is from an ethical perspective. If the verbiage itself is offensive (which we all agree), does it matter if the conversation was "private" or that he thought the conversation was private? Clearly, an experienced public speaker should know better but does that really matter? Is he more culpable because of his position than, say, someone who is unaware that he is being recorded? Hmm, that's an interesting twist. I don't know the answer but it's an interesting consideration.

No one is giving him a pass. Except Curt Schilling, maybe. I certainly do not give him a pass. It's just that I am sometimes troubled with the public's rush to judgment. We have ALL put our foot in our mouths at one time or another. We all say things in anger or frustration or simple stupidity that we wish we could take back. Sometimes these things get recorded. The person is then branded as a racist, sexist, homophobe, etc. We throw these labels around like we're immune to any human foibles ourselves...It smacks of sanctimonious hypocrisy - sometimes. Sometimes it is a truly revealing lapse. I just want us to be a tiny bit willing to accept that people may make mistakes but that doesn't necessarily define them.

Edit: punctuation
I don't think there's a big distinction between public and private life, with regard to saying terrible stuff. I work in HR and that has probably helped me think more broadly before I speak, but it also made me acutely aware that regardless of whether or not you're at work, your actions represent you, your family, your employer, and anyone else affiliated with you. For better or worse, there's no real separation because your 'public' life and 'private' life intersect every dang day. Don't like cancel culture? Be a better human.

It's not easy to change how we talk, but it's worth it.

But..... cocksucker isn’t just an insult between straight friends or enemies, it’s an implicit and explicit damnation of gays. It’s like me saying I don't mind being called a Jewish slur.
Eat a bowl of dicks. I used to love this insult. Then I had an enlightened conversation with one of my friends who looked at me when I said it, and suggested he wouldn't mind, depending on the size of the dicks. I apologized to him then, but it made me think a lot about the stuff I say without thinking too much about it. There are enough creative curse words and insults that exist that we don't need to minimize groups of people because 'that's how we talked back in the day!'.
 

BroodsSexton

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 4, 2006
9,670
guam
It’s not like giving up cigarettes or coffee, it’s just telling yourself it’s really not ok anymore. Anyone still throwing around words like that are signaling who they really are.
Missed opportunity, there.

This one’s bad. Next man up. Your job is to be a tv broadcaster. When you broadcast something so outrageously offensive—and there is no context because there is no context, and guess what, that’s the risk you run when you make statements like that—you lose your job. The action speaks for itself in this case. I’m sure there are lots of broadcasters who wouldn’t broadcast offensive epithets. They get the jobs.
 
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@Conigliaro's Potential have you heard or broadcast any matches with Adler?
Nope - couldn't pick his voice out of an audio lineup. But I remember hearing about the incident in question, and Adler getting fired for that was ridiculous.

One thing I will say is that when you're talking for long periods of time with few interruptions, the weaker your stream of consciousness filter gets, and the more commentating becomes instinctual rather than deliberate. Particularly when I'm tired and my brain isn't operating at 100% capacity, it's entirely possible that I might say something on air without fully being conscious of all of its ramifications - which is to say, it's the polar opposite of how I feel when I'm writing a SoSH post (or a column, or a book) and can take as many tries as I want to get my wording right. It scares the hell out of me that I might subconsciously use a term on the air which someone might construe as offensive in any way - I mean, the N-word isn't on the tip of my tongue and somehow waiting to spew out of my mouth or anything like that, but I dunno, maybe there's a phrase waiting to emerge with indirect colonial connotations that I'm not aware of, and I could wind up offending someone in Africa or India without even realizing it (until being shown the transcript afterwards)? I easily could have fallen into the "guerilla" trap myself, although I'm probably just nerdy enough to have escaped the trap by giving the word a Spanish pronunciation or immediately referencing the Yugoslavian partisans under Tito to put it in context.

Does that last paragraph apply to Thom Brennaman? I doubt it. Or if it does, it only does so in the context of someone who I think you could pretty safely assume uses offensive terminology off the air all the time. I would never call someone a "fag" or the N-word on the air no matter how tired or stream-of-consciousness I might become, because those aren't words I use or think in a non-analytical capacity. I would bet my house that the way Brennaman said that word, stretching it out and emphasizing it the way he did, was very deliberate and/or reflected an inner belief structure in which using the word was appropriate off the air. Perhaps - perhaps - it only came to the fore because he was tired and speaking in a stream-of-consciousness sort of way. But in no way does that excuse it. (From the audio we have of the incident, the only potential excuse I could possibly contort myself into buying is if Brennaman was quoting or parodying something someone else had just said or echoing something that had been said off-air before the mics went hot, rather than expressing an opinion of his own. But the fact that he hasn't offered up this explanation already would suggest it isn't true.)

By the by, you may have noticed that I basically never swear in my SoSH posts, except perhaps when quoting someone else, and sometimes go to great lengths not to do so. There are a number of reasons for this, but one of them is that I don't want those words to become embedded in how I think and speak in such a way that they might emerge when I don't want them to, including on the air. (For the record, I am known to swear in the form of what I believe the legal term would be "excited utterances" - e.g., in the immediate aftermath of a bad golf shot, or when I was being forced to change commentary booths last week after a match had started with zero notice because of technical problems in our studio - but that's pretty much it.) I know many commentators swear like sailors off the air but always seem to perfectly filter their words on the air, but I do think that anyone who regularly uses words in normal conversation that they aren't allowed to use in a professional context might be playing with fire.
 
Incidentally, I think Brennaman's career may well be done, at least at the highest levels of the industry. Commentators very rarely get to where they are strictly on merit, and I have to imagine Brennaman's family connections and willingness/ability to "play the game" off the air have had far more to do with his success in getting plum jobs than producers listening to him analytically and saying, "Wow, I really like the way he commentates." Also, once you're entrenched as a high-level commentator and have a name and a voice that people recognize, it's very easy - far too easy - to coast along on your reputation. (To give another example, Dick Stockton has been actively fossilizing before our very eyes and ears for at least a decade, but enough people recognize his name and voice to lend him a credibility that his current commentating talent does not warrant.) But once you do something like Brennaman has done, producers are now going to go back and actually look and listen to his work, and ask themselves whether his ability as a commentator is worth the hassle that rehiring him would entail. For me, that answer is clearly no. If he wants to get back into the game, after serving a suitably lengthy period in the wilderness, he'll have to start as the local radio guy for a lower-profile team or maybe to call college games for a lower-tier production like the Big 10 Network that don't air nationally - organizations that might appreciate the chance to get some publicity by hiring a "name" that people have heard of, in a region of the country where there is a greater cultural willingness to accept homophobic comments, without massively reawakening the controversy that sidelined him in the first place. At best, he might work his way back up to becoming the play-by-play guy for a middle-tier baseball team (like the Reds, ironically), but I can't imagine him working for Fox or the equivalent at the national level again.
 

drbretto

guidence counselor
SoSH Member
Apr 10, 2009
9,983
Concord, NH
Right on.
For me, this is more about society's response to these types of issues. I literally know nothing about Thom Brennaman (I almost wrote TB - seemed weird) and I am most certainly NOT defending him - he was 10000% wrong, no mistake. I'm much more interested in the response(s) to this and similar episodes. I couldn't care less about Brennaman or this case in particular - except that I'm very saddened that these types of hurtful comments continue to wound innocent people. I admit, I have an old school rub some dirt on it attitude about many things - except fucking dogs, man. Anyway, it's been good (for me, at least) to get some feedback and dialogue about these issues.
I used to be in this same camp, fwiw. Hugely leery about mob mentality.

But, I decided to wait until I saw someone being actually unfairly being "cancelled" or whatever people are calling it these days, and it just isn't happening. You said yourself this particular dude is totally guilty.

The rest of my resignation comes from the fact that it's just people holding people accountable for their own words. There's always someone who might get offended by virtually anything, but it doesn't mean it's the same people. The internet is a superposition of all possible viewpoints. That means it's up to the person broadcasting a message to think about what kind of reaction it will get.

It's nothing new that people need to be careful what they say in public. It's just new that so many people have the ability to speak in public, but don't understand that responsibility (meaning in relation to regular people on social media, not professional broadcasters, who should be held to an even higher standard because they can't claim ignorance).
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
17,084
Who said anything about letting him in "after the anger has died down"? My point (as it was my post joe dokes was calling "about right") was that if he truly shows contrition, his future in the business can be re-evaluated down the road. But for the time being, he's out and he doesn't get to come back unless he, at minimum, shows true remorse and true attempts to make amends. If he does that and it's not considered enough, then he keeps sitting out.
Yes, that was my point. What does contrition look like? I don't know. I'll know it when see it.
 

Dahabenzapple2

Mr. McGuire
SoSH Member
Jun 20, 2011
7,858
Wayne, NJ
If I uttered that word at work, say on a conference call that I thought was muted, I would be suspended at a minimum and 50%/50% to be fired. And my career in that area would be severely curtailed for at least a decade.

There’s no excuse to be saying that shit, much less at work. I used that word too, 25 years ago, as a general insult. Once you understand, *really* understand why it’s hurtful and, frankly, stupid, it’s very easy to stop using it. It’s not like giving up cigarettes or coffee, it’s just telling yourself it’s really not ok anymore. Anyone still throwing around words like that are signaling who they really are.
This - but I have a boss (one of the three I have) that goes over the line with this crap all to often. I call him out all the time but what am to do? Sad to say that my top boss is worse by far in other respects but thank JAH he never crosses these line. He just lies, manipulates and abuses all the people in the department. I could always leave. We’ve all made complaints - formal and otherwise to no avail as he’s been there 40 years and apparently he’s gonna be there until he drops dead.

The excuse or apology Brenneman made is BS. Most apologies always are but this one was an extra special kind of BS.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

All Hail King Boron
Dope
May 20, 2003
31,408
Deep inside Muppet Labs
What are acceptable acts of attrition in a situation like this. I’m just curious. Donating money to LGBTQ charities? Meeting with members and leaders of the gay community?
Kyle Larson might prove to be a good example of how to handle something like this:

NASCAR’s Kyle Larson to AP on slur: ‘I was just ignorant’

TL;DR version: in an iracing match earlier this year Larson used the N-word to refer to his online spotter, which immediately cost him his sponsorship and his ride and potentially his career. The article details what he's done since. He hasn't blamed others for his usage, he has taken steps to learn and change since that occurrence, and he's taking the rest of this year off from Nascar. He has said he needs to change and improve. He never said "If I offended anyone," he never made excuses, and he hasn't really publicized his actions since losing his ride.

It's fair to note that Larson is immensely talented and so will likely get another chance. It would be naive to think a lesser talented driver would also get that chance.
 
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joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
17,084
You have to wonder if he did this at a job interview for this position, would he be hired? If not, why shouldn't he be fired over it?
I think that's a fair way of looking at it. I think the consensus is that he deserved to be fired. I think whether Brenneman or your interviewee deserves to *never* get a job (or get another one in the business) is a separate question.

TL;DR version: in an iracing match earlier this year Larson used the N-word to refer to his online spotter, which immediately cost him his sponsorship and his ride and potentially his career. The article details what he's done since. He hasn't blamed others for his usage, he has taken steps to learn and change since that occurrence, and he's taking the rest of this year off from Nascar. He has said he needs to change and improve. He never said "If I offended anyone," he never made excuses, and he hasn't really publicized his actions since losing his ride.
I think the bolded is important. So many try to "repair their image" in the eyes of the people who really don't think they did anything *that* wrong in the first place.
 
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