Beware the hot mic or even worse, the hot video camera. They can have devastating effects on a career if you say the wrong thing when you didn’t know they were hot.
Example No. 1 is Thom Brennaman, longtime broadcast voice of the Cincinnati Reds and a Fox Sports NFL announcer. During a break in the action on the field a couple of weeks ago, Brennaman uttered a rather ugly homophobic remark for no apparent reason.
The mic was hot and the crack went out over the air for all to hear, Brennaman offered what seemed a sincere apology on the air but it did not help. He was suspended by the Reds and fired by Fox. He offered a second, longer apology but it did no good. He is, at the moment, without a mic, which is probably a good thing for him.
That brings us to the curious case of Brodie Van Wagenen, the former player agent, who is now in his second year as general manager of the New York Mets. It has been a bumpy ride for Brodie, who unloaded some of the Mets best prospects in trades for Edwin Diaz, Robinson Cano and Marcus Stroman last year. Diaz was awful and Cano underwhelming last year and Stroman bailed out without throwing a pitch this year, citing COVID-19 concerns.
Those episodes were just a warmup for Van Wagenen, who got caught on a hot mic and hot video commenting on the work of baseball commissioner Rob Manfred. “He just doesn’t get it,’’ Van Wagenen announced into the sizzling mic and video, commenting on a weird plan to have the Mets participate in the social protest sweeping through sports by taking the field, then retreating to the clubhouse, waiting an hour and then returning to the field to play a game against the Miami Marlins.
Naughty, Brodie. It’s not nice to say bad things about the commissioner. Especially when the convoluted plan came not from Manfred but from Jeff Wilpon, the Mets chief operating officer and Van Wagenen’s immediate boss.
Wilpon was outraged and so was his father, Mets owner Fred Wilpon. Each issued a statement expressing anger with the GM’s remarks and emphasized their annoyance by butchering his first name, spelling it Brody. Van Wagenen also issued an apology.
All of this apologizing might have something to do with the pending sale of the Mets which Manfred has to approve. This would not be a good time to have the commissioner annoyed.
So Brennaman and Van Wagenen have learned important lessons. When there is a mic or camera in the area, be careful with your thoughts. Otherwise you might wind up saying, “Oops!’’