Last month, the Cincinnati Reds pulled sports broadcaster Thom Brennaman from their game after he used a homophobic slur on air.
Video of the incident went viral and Brennaman, 56, was placed on indefinite suspension.
Now he’s speaking for the first time, embarking on an apology tour that draws into question his level of sincerity.
“Believe me, I know there are a lot of people who are still very angry and I understand that,” Brennaman told The New York Post.
He arranged a lunch meeting with Evan Millward, a gay Cincinnati newscaster, who told the Post, “It was pretty clear to me early on that he was not using me.”
Reflecting on the experience, Brennaman said:
“Everything happened so fast. And I’m watching literally everything fall apart at the seams while trying to announce a baseball game.
“I couldn’t even tell you what happened, where it came from. … Look, I said it is all that matters. The rest of it is irrelevant. I said it. And I own it. And I’m the one who has to live with it.”
But Brennaman may have taken his remorse act a bit too far when he added, “I have never used that word (before) in my life.”
Ryan Messer, an LGBTQ activist in Cincinnati, isn’t buying that part. Nor should anyone with half a brain. But still, Messer sees more value in opening a conversation with Brennaman than simply hitting the “cancel” button.
“If he used it then, he used it before,” Messer said. But “if we don’t open the dialogue to help explain (the meaning behind the word), how do we learn and grow from it? And that’s where my whole perspective comes, and I’m willing to make sure he understands that, which is why he is coming to my house Saturday to meet my family, my husband and four kids.”
“If I get another chance, someone will be hiring a better person than the person who walked out the door that night on Aug. 19,” Brennaman insists.