Last night, Major League Baseball Cincinnati Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman was on mic using a homophobic slur during a live broadcast. Brennan has since apologized and was removed mid-game from the broadcast. The Reds also put out a statement addressing the incident, apologizing to the LGBTQ+ community and reiterating their zero-tolerance policy for bias and discrimination.
Homophobia and transphobia are deeply entrenched in society, and especially in athletics. Discriminatory language, regardless of intent, sends a message to LGBTQI+ athletes and fans that they aren’t safe or welcome in sport. The use of this language also reflects a true, pervasive lack of education on LGBTQI+ issues and experiences across the sport world. Athlete Ally calls upon Mr. Brennaman and the greater sport community to deepen education on the impact of discriminatory language, and the barriers that keep LGBTQI+ people isolated and excluded. Baseball – and all sports – should be a safe place for each of us, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.