By: Frank Hyden
Thom Brennaman has been suspended after using a homophobic slur on air. That’s the headline. However, I always hate when they don’t tell you what was said. They don’t actually have to use the word or words but with the way the media is these days, and with people getting offended so easily, it’s helpful to actually know what was said.
Here’s what he said, and I don’t know the context or why he brought this up but it doesn’t really matter. I believe he didn’t know he was on air and was having a conversation with someone else.
“One of the f*g capitals of the world.”
What in the world is that? What was the conversation that made him bring this up? If he had said this at home then whatever. I absolutely 100% think that’s a horrible thing that shouldn’t be said but if he’s at home, what can you do? However, he was at work. He was calling a Cincinnati Reds baseball game on television. What the hell was he thinking?
I thought it was important to mention what Brennaman said because there’s been other cases where the media condemns a person for saying something, and social media condemns it and the person is fired. Then you find out what was said, and you’re like “What the hell? These are not even close to being the same thing.”
In April of 2018 Brian Davis was calling a Oklahoma City Thunder game. Russell Westbrook was playing well and Davis made a comment that essentially got him fired. Technically, the Thunder just didn’t renew his contract but it was basically a firing. They suspended him, he apologized, then didn’t get picked up. That comment was widely criticized on social media, and the mainstream media was quick to call it offensive. Whatever he said must have been horrible.
Here’s what he said. This was after Westbrook had tallied his 9th assist midway through the 2nd quarter. Speaking of Westbrook, he said he’s “out of his cotton-picking mind!”. Davis was the announcer for the Thunder and was jubilant about the great play of Westbrook. The PC Police were out in full force. How dare he say something that is an extremely common expression? You can argue that it’s an antiquated expression that shouldn’t be used anymore but to effectively fire a guy for saying it is ridiculous. If he had said that about Nick Collison, none of these people would have batted an eye. But because he said it about a black man, all hell breaks loose. If it had been a black announcer saying that about Westbrook, no one would have cared. That’s what makes this so stupid. I just recently saw an episode of Celebrity Family Feud, NFL Hall of Famers versus young players, where Steve Harvey made a comment about these players “are a different kind of gorilla”. Harvey also said in 2018 that the Golden State Warriors “have too many gorillas on the team”. And you had people wanting to cancel him, and he’s a black man. But if he had said those comments about white guys, it’d be no problem.
You shouldn’t have different sets of rules based on something as superficial as the color of your skin. I get that some of these phrases might be “problematic” but it’s all in how they’re used. You can tell when someone is saying something as a compliment versus when they’re saying it as an insult. If you can’t tell the difference, get off of social media and interact with actual people so you learn to read them.
To finish with Westbrook, he had a chance to show what kind of person he is. Is he a leader? A unifier? Or is he as soft as Charmin? You probably already know what he said, or how he responded.
“What he said wasn’t ok.”
Instead of brushing it off, Westbrook went with it and leaned into being a victim. Like we don’t have enough of that in this country. Multiple presidents, just about every elected official in the country probably, damn near every celebrity, etc. What is with people wanting to be victims? Why do people try to demonize the other side? I don’t get it.
Why would people not want to try to unify everyone? Why do people automatically assume the worst when somebody says something? They always go straight to the worst possible case. There’s a man named Daryl Davis, a black man, who has befriended hundreds of members of the KKK and gotten them to change their ways. He got them to see and understand why they were wrong in their beliefs by finding common ground with them. He’s changed the world for the better, and sets an example for all of us to follow.
I might expand on this further another time, I’ve got to wrap this up as I have to go, but my overall point is that what Thom Brennaman said is completely different from what Brian Davis said. Yet the reaction from the media is largely the same. In the hysterical and hyperbolic reaction to both, you lose the ability to differentiate. Nuance has been lost.
Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at email@example.com and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank