Thom Brennaman’s slur was wrong but so is selective justice

Who’d a thunk it? In our exchanges, he’d never even cussed. Can’t say the same for myself.

I know Fox and Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman long enough to be shocked that he’d speak a slur for homosexuals — the F-word — even when he thought he was off the air, let alone while attached to a microphone.

I don’t know if he’ll receive the career death penalty, given that he was more likely trying to sound like a wise guy rather than a hate monger. Sometimes “Some of my best friends are …” makes for legitimate mitigation.

But we can rationalize anything. Bottom line: Brennaman should never have been inclined to speak such a slur.

But I do know that even after Jay-Z wrote, recorded, performed and sold rap songs in which he trashed gays — and rapped far worse, including a steady reference to black men as the N-word and the vulgar sexual objectifications of women — Roger Goodell’s NFL embraced him as its Minister of Social Justice.

Thus we do know that justice is selective, seldom reflecting the genuine, blindfolded kind.

Philadelphia’s former mayor, Michael Nutter, a black man, demanded the Eagles fire white receiver Riley Cooper for using the N-word, but had no problem with the Phillies signing Delmon Young after he attacked a bearded man because he thought he was Jewish.

In the meantime, Charlotte Hornets’ first-season radio play-by-play man John Focke has been indefinitely suspended for tweeting on the fly from his kitchen table while watching a Utah-Denver game.

Hitting “send” without looking, he referenced the Nuggets as the plural of the N-word while quickly banging out “Jazz-Nuggets,” a no-look message for the real-time reading edification of very few.

Focke explained his was a careless cell phone mistake. And as the Charlotte Observer’s Scott Fowler wrote, “Look down at your own screen. The ‘u’ is next to the ‘i,’ the ‘t’ is next to the ‘r.’ ”

Still, as CBS’ venerable Verne Lundquist has preached, the most dangerous word in our language has become “SEND.”

Beyond that, for what logical reason would Focke have typed and sent such? Was he trying put an early end to his career or did he make a negligent technological error?

This week I returned an email to a reader named “Puggy,” later to see that I referenced him as “Piggy.”

As a matter of common sense, the suspension of Focke makes none, like ESPN’s firing of tennis analyst Doug Adler for complimenting Venus Willliams’ “guerilla” tactics, as if he suddenly and for no reason called her a gorilla.

If the Hornets believe Focke’s intentionally used that word, he must be fired as a racist — even if others in and associated with the NBA regularly use it.

If it was what it sensibly appears to be — modern technology turned on its creator like Frankenstein’s monster — Focke must be forgiven, his career unstained by a speed-typing accident.

Only the unreasonable and illogical would be left to believe otherwise, that out of the blue, Focke, a freshly hired NBA radio man, decided to call the Nuggets a group racial slur. By the way, who suspended or fired the Rev. Jesse Jackson for calling NYC “Hymie Town”?

Critics swing and miss by slamming Tatis’ slam

Know what I’m going to buy you for your birthday? Something we all could use: a standing eight count. You know, enough time to clear your head to determine whether you should continue or stop having your brains scrambled.

Monday, the Padres’ Fernando Tatis committed an unfamiliar sin. With his team up on Texas, 10-3 in the eighth, he hit a grand slam against Juan Nicasio on a 3-0 count.

Among lesser options, he chose to swing. Being an old, white, grumpy, get-off-my-lawn sports columnist, I was supposed to join players and media in being appalled. What seemed a reasonable time for Tatis to be swinging, apparently violated an unwritten code of conduct.

MLB players, managers and media don’t seem to have a problem with The Game’s chronic self-ruin by the absence of proven winning fundamentals — the bunt, hitting the other way to defeat shifts, the removal of home-plate posing that often result in off-the-wall “home run” singles and optional running to first base even in World Series games.

But what Tatis did was inexcusable?

You want appalling? Wednesday on SNY’s Mets-Marlins slog-a-thon, the Mets up 1-0 early, New York’s hustling but often self-deluded lefty “slugger” Brandon Nimmo worked a 2-0 count — against a shift toward first base. That’s right, the shift was on even for a happy-to-hit-the-ball sprayer.

With the third base side of the infield abandoned, a bunt or a slap in that direction would at least be worth a single. But Nimmo didn’t even give it a shot. He struck out, looking. Now that’s appalling.

But what would surely stoke the incredulity of Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez didn’t provoke a word.

Wednesday night one could choose between Rays-Yankees on YES — 4-2, Rays; 12 total hits, 26 strikeouts nine pitchers in 3:15 — and Mets-Marlins — 5-3, Mets; a total of 20 strikeouts against 10 pitchers in 3:15.

Both games and telecasts had much in common: They were desultory, new-standard home-run-or-strikeouts drags with half-inning breaks dominated by commercials for vulnerable fools in their early 20s to bet on MLB games.

All two-strike pitches were attacked with vicious, damn-the-circumstances swings. Exhibit A: Rays catcher Mike Zunino hit a home run — and struck out in his other three at-bats.

On YES, Michael Kay again emphasized launch angles, exit velocities and home run distances as new baseball essentials.

Kay also lamented the injury to DJ LeMahieu, the best Yankees’ hitter. Currently batting .411, he’s tough to defend as he hits to all fields. But perhaps lost on Kay & Co., he doesn’t register on exit velo, launch angle and HR distance charts. He’s good, but no Gary Sanchez!

Tuesday, the Cubs beat the Cardinals, 6-3; nine pitchers, 26 strikeouts, 13 walks. The 8 ½-inning game ran 4:09. Thursday’s 10-5, 3:25 Rays win over the Yanks included 12 pitchers. Sanctuary!

But the week’s big story was shame on Fernando Tatis for doing dirt to The Game.

Leagues, networks pay attention: NHL gets a pass

With TV and marketing strategists still mindlessly rewarding the biggest me-first artists as the preferred representatives of sports — women’s sports, too, as per Megan Rapinoe — the NHL can’t seem to help itself. It remains a team-first sport.

When the Islanders’ Mathew Barzal first-timed a shot past Capitals goalie Braden Holtby on Tuesday, on MSG a TV camera couldn’t help but show Barzal immediately point toward defenseman Nick Leddy, who’d fed him the puck.

Barzal then could be seen to holler, “What a bleepin’ pass, baby!”