As someone who has worked 35+ years in the media, I know a little something about homophobia, management and disciplinary procedures. I’ve been a manager and an employee.
I’ve fired people, and I’ve been fired.
Although, I believe what I did — coming out as transgender, or what my former employer called having “performance issues” — is not at all the same as what Cincinnati Reds baseball announcer Thom Brennaman did Wednesday night on a hot mic.
Even though they’re not the same thing, I feel like my experiences permit me to weigh-in on the question of the day: should Fox Sports Ohio and the Reds fire Brennaman for calling some city somewhere “one of the fag capitals of the world?”
Outsports readers have been pretty clear about where they stand, in tweets and in our unscientific poll: At press time, more than 70% voted “fire him already!”
As somebody who’s been fired and because of my faith, I do believe in second chances. That doesn’t mean I think everyone benefits from such opportunities to make amends.
I believe everyone is worthy of forgiveness. I can forgive, but I won’t ever forget.
I can forgive Thom Brennaman for what he said, especially since I am sure he didn’t mean for it to be heard by the world. However, I cannot forget what he said, and I believe that even if he didn’t want to have that thought broadcast on TV, he did mean what he said.
I also believe there are people who live on this earth and those who have died who are utterly unredeemable. They cannot learn to change their ways, for plenty of reasons, and it doesn’t really matter why they can’t. It’s not for us to judge; It’s up to us to learn to live with that knowledge.
Since Brennaman also noted he is a person of faith in his apologies, I imagine he’s familiar with the Serenity Prayer.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
Here’s hoping Brennaman has the courage to change his homophobic ways. I strongly believe in consequences for actions, and terminating him for uttering a slur against the LGBTQ community will send a message to other broadcasters and executives, even beyond MLB.
As a broadcaster, let me tell you: it is ingrained in you that you should act as if the mic is always hot. I don’t think Brennaman said what he said because he made a mistake; he made the mistake of saying what he said without thinking it would matter if anyone heard him.
Fire Thom Brennaman. If he wants to change his ways, provide him the opportunity to do so on his own time.