Channel 9 sportscaster Glenn Brenner was back on the air last night after a one-day suspension.
Brenner had refused to read an apology on the 6 p.m. news Thursday for having aired a comic singing of the Star-Spangled Banner by two Redskins players on the 6 p.m. newscast on Veterans Day.
The singing attempt by Skins Clarence Verdin and Ricky Sanders, plus snippets from a tape of Pia Zadora mangling the national anthem at a recent NBA game in Madison Square Garden -- which prompted the Skins' appearance -- drew an angry response from several hundred viewers.
Brenner had personally apologized for the 6 p.m. segment on the 11 p.m. Wednesday broadcast. When news director Dave Pearce asked him to read a statement prepared by Pearce on behalf of the station on the Thursday broadcast, Brenner refused.
Pearce then sent him home. Brenner's backup, sportscaster Ken Mease, anchored the sports reports on both the 6 and 11 o'clock Thursday newscasts.
In addition, former Skins fullback John Riggins had to substitute for Brenner on "Redskins Sidelines," taped Thursday evening for broadcast Saturday night with Sonny Jurgensen...
Pearce yesterday declined to say what disciplinary action he imposed on Brenner, commenting only that "we've resolved the problem to my satisfaction. He's satisfied and I'm satisfied."
Brenner yesterday seemed pleased that the situation was resolved. "I think the 'discipline' was sending me home for the night," he commented. He said as far as he knew he was not docked a day's pay.
"Frankly, I thought my apology Wednesday night was sufficient," he said. "After all, Gary Hart and Jim and Tammy only apologized once."
Brenner, one of the highest-paid local sportscasters in the business, reportedly takes home at least $350,000 annually as part of a contract whose long-term worth comes to about $750,000 a year. He is working on the second year of a five-year contract with WUSA.