MLB Ends Season Without Homophobic Incidents on Record

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday September 28, 2020

Cincinnati Reds star Reds star Joey Votto
Cincinnati Reds star Reds star Joey Votto   (Source:Associated Press)

Outsports reports that, for the first time since 2016, Major League Baseball ended its season without any incidents of homophobic controversy among players.

Given that the 60-game season was drastically shortened by 102 games, a normal season might have presented more opportunities for players to offend, Outsports contends. The only blemish on an otherwise homophobia-free season was an incident in which Thom Brennaman, the longtime Cincinnati Reds announcer, was caught on a hot mic referring to "one of the fag capitals of the world." In the second half of that August 20th game, Brenneman apologized, was later suspended by the Reds.

In response to Brennaman's homophobic comment, Reds star Joey Votto reacted:

"I was saddened by it. Certainly, that's something that was associated with our organization, and it's a bummer. It's too bad that there are people out there that have been held down and oppressed and had terrible experiences in their lives in association of that word, because of that word.

"From our perspective, and I'm always wary of speaking on things like this because I'm not a perfect person and nobody inside of our workspace is, but it's important that it's acknowledged that is wrong, and lots of people probably felt pain that they've experienced in the past reignited when they heard that word over just a ballgame. They were just trying to tune in to watch a ballgame, support their local team, or support a team that they ... they just wanted to watch a baseball game, and something like that was brought up."

Matt Bowman and Amir Garrett, relief pitchers for the Reds, also recognized that if the team didn't speak out against Brennaman's comment, it could alienate LGBTQ Reds fans. Furthermore, Garrett explains that it is also equally as important to speak out in support of the movement of marginalized communities on a larger level, such as Black Lives Matter. The point, as Bowman explains, is to "let everyone know that [Brennaman's comment] is not representative of the organization." Brennaman resigned last week.

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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