This article is free for anyone to read, but please consider becoming a Patreon subscriber to allow me to keep writing posts like this one. Sign up to receive articles like this one in your inbox here.
Thom Brennaman doesn’t inherently deserve to be a broadcaster for a Major League Baseball team. That is both the long and short of the matter, but I guess we can go longer than that, too. If he is truly putting in work to make up for his hot mic usage of a homophobic slur last summer by joining the board of a children’s home that specializes in taking in kids thrown out of their home for being gay, then that’s great! I’m certainly not going to argue that point, and I’ll grant him at least a little benefit of the doubt here, that he feels some remorse about the whole situation beyond “it cost me my job and that’s bad.” Actually embedding himself a bit here in the community he offended is a good way to change the mindset Brennaman had that allowed him to so casually — and with obvious familiarity — throw out an anti-gay slur when he thought his mic was off.
However, none of this means he deserves to go back to being an MLB broadcaster. There are just 30 full-time play-by-play and color commentator jobs each, plus a handful of national broadcasting gigs. Why does Brennaman deserve one of those slots? He didn’t necessarily deserve one even before he got himself in trouble with his actions: the Brennaman broadcasting pipeline isn’t like the Buck one, in that Thom isn’t his dad nor is he Joe Buck, and yet, he was an announcer in multiple sports, with a grip on one of the few full-time jobs that exist in the market at the highest level.