Should CBS be fined for Ravens QB’s F-bomb after Super Bowl win?

The horror, the horror.  A football player, quite understandably, used the f-word last night on live tv right after his team’s victory in the Super Bowl.  Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco shouted “this is f–king awesom!” while assembled with his teammates right after winning the game.  CBS’ mic picked it up.

The Parents Television Council is beside itself:

“No one should be surprised that a jubilant quarterback might use profane language while celebrating a career-defining win, but that is precisely the reason why CBS should have taken precautions,”  PTC president Tim Winter said in a statement. “Joe Flacco’s use of the f-word, while understandable, does not absolve CBS of its legal obligation to prevent profane language from being broadcast – especially during something as uniquely pervasive as the Super Bowl.”

Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco drops the f-bomb after winning the Super Bowl

Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco drops the f-bomb after winning the Super Bowl

Well, if no one is surprised that a jubilant quarter used the f-word, and if it was a guarantee that we’d have one jubilant quarterback at the end of yesterday’s Super Bowl, then what the f-bomb were parents doing letting their kids watch the game if they’re so worried about their kids hearing the f-bomb?

That’s a bit like taking your kid to an R-rated movie and then being surprised that the kid is exposed to nudity, and then, later, telling people that you expected the movie to have nudity.  THEN WHY DID YOU BRING YOUR KID IN THE FIRST PLACE?

If you watch the video of the moment, you’ll see another player saying “holy sh*t!” too.

I’m not opposed to any standards at all governing television.  But I’m also not convinced that the occasional unintentional swear word is going to warp any children for life.  I’d be far more worried about my kids (had I kids) hearing this guy, or these guys, say anything about any topic, than about Flacco using a swear word in an obvious moment of joy.

What do you think?  Much ado about nothing?  Or does CBS deserve some blame for not having the victory on a 7-second delay?  (Which of course means that CBS would be 7 seconds behind the live event, which probably would have ticked viewers off – and CBS would be thus scooped by anyone with a cell phone at the game.)

And here’s the video of Flacco dropping the f-bomb:


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Nashoba Darkwolf

    if football players can say the “fag” over and over again and no one cares, the work f&*k should not be something to worry about.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I like that idea!

  • hauksdottir

    “True heros” [sic]

    This man is no hero. His JOB is playing a competitive game, for lots and lots of MONEY, and he is good at his job. After last Sunday, he’ll get even more money.

    A hero is somebody who risks themselves for the safety or betterment of others. Poland, the bus driver who blocked the door with his own body was shot 4 times while 21 children escaped. He is a hero… he won’t get more money; he’ll get a memorial service.

    I strongly suggest that you don’t listen to the interview with the homeless hitchhiker who saved a petite woman from Bear-Man Jesus and acted to give the man who was pinned a shot at survival. Given the rampage, he probably saved a few other people, as well. Foul-mouthed, but goodhearted and level-headed. He is a hero… he won’t get more money; he hopes to go surfing.

    There are a lot of true heroes, most of them unnoticed. If your definition of “hero” is somebody who never swears, you will probably be happier in the spotless world of juvenile fiction than living in the real world.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Daniel.Raymond.Spencer Daniel Spencer

    Lots of it in our house, fucking Ravens this and fucking Ravens that…

  • planetwingnuttia

    the gay kids were doing the dances with her. the str8 kids were getting crushes.

  • planetwingnuttia

    you wanna borrow my pearls and couch to clutch and faint on? seriously…did it affect your world in anyway whatsoever?

  • Deb

    It is sad that the word had to be used at all. What happened to respect for others? True heros are getting harder and harder to find these days. Let’s face it…it was unnecesary. Don’t make excuses for the guy.

  • Butch1

    After all the bad press about the homophobia from some of their players, I’m not upset in the least that they lost.

  • Butch1

    I wish these “church-going prudes” would go home! Many countries look at us and just laugh at our prudishness with having to get out the smelling salts every time someone says fuck, shit or piss on the airwaves or radio. For crying out loud, “WE HAVE TO SAVE THE CHILDREN.” I am so sick and tired of listening of these do-gooders controlling the air waves and putting these fools in charge of what can be said or not. This is football and men cuss. They were excited and there was bound to be some expletives thrown about among the players. Did we expect to here ” Oh, Fei, I’m so elated that we won!!” We need to send these 19th century relics home when it comes to announcers running around on the field sticking a microphone in the face of a player and picking up unintended conversations coming from others. It doesn’t count. Most of the players try and clean up their language for TV when they are giving interviews; you cannot expect an overheard conversation to count.

  • rmthunter

    I had to watch the video twice before I caught it. Someone must have had specialists listening for something like this.

    Big effing deal.

    I think someone needs to grow up and get a life.

  • caphillprof

    Aren’t they now the 39′s?

  • caphillprof

    If anybody is to be censured or fined, it should be the Parents Television Council.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Harmless to the kiddies compared to Bouncy what’s her name flashing a black lacy camel toe to the spectacle of fireworks.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Every cable movie made in the last two years starring child actors virtually uses no other words. As my last evil landlord said, when stepping into a pile on the law: OOuuuh, I stepped in some doggy bathroom. I think we’ve come a long way.

  • bagelche

    The incident in question was aired after 10pm, so it’s during the safe harbor hours of 10pm-6am. As the FCC’s website notes, “the Commission does not take action on indecent material aired between 10
    p.m. and 6:00 a.m. In this way, constitutionally-protected free speech
    rights of adults are balanced with the need to protect children from harmful
    content.”

    It’s a non-issue.

  • bkmn

    Of course it would have been ok if he had been shot or beheaded, as long as the ones doing the damage aren’t non-Xtians. Guns don’t kill, after all.

  • kingstonbears

    Just wonder how any “f” bombs were dropped by the bigots in the 49′s locker room?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Thom-Allen/100001612223922 Thom Allen

    He didn’t really say the f-word, he was just lip-synching.

  • http://twitter.com/abynorml Joanne Robrahn

    Such a ridiculous question. It WAS a spontaneous and, quite, understandable outburst. If a Christian out there is offended–at least he didn’t use the Lord’s name in vain! America, GROW UP!

  • Tony

    This is fucking stupid. If these parents groups don’t think their kids have ever heard this type of language they are fucking nuts.

  • nicho

    Any kid who watched the game that far and was watching the postgame celebration knows the word — and probably uses it. The country has gone fucking nuts.

  • Naja pallida

    The FCC’s own rules state that before assessing any kind of penalty, the context of the remark needs to be addressed. Seems to me they could just chalk it up to spontaneous utterance, and move on. The same way they do if someone runs up behind a live reporter on a news broadcast and starts shouting obscenities, or if someone in a non-delayed live broadcast accidentally says something they didn’t mean to. Every time we make a big deal out of silly shit like this, the rest of the adult world just laughs at us.

  • perljammer

    No need to broadcast a black screen and no audio for 7 seconds; just bleep the bleeping obscenity. It’s done all the time on live broadcasts, and it’s not particularly intrusive. And dealing with it in a manner compliant with law is the responsibility of the broadcaster, not the football player who utters a jubilant f-bomb.

    I guess whether it’s all a silly tempest in a teapot is in the eye (or ear) of the beholder, but the fact is, broadcasting obscene language over public airwaves is currently a violation of FCC regulations.

    As far as I know, FCC regulations governing obscenity in broadcasts over the public airwaves don’t have any exceptions for spontaneous off-color expression of joy (or despair), any more than they have exceptions for talk-show callers using scatological language.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcrEqIpi6sg Moderator4

    Fred Carolina, you are a new commenter on this blog (and welcome, by the way). But you should know that we do not normally allow people to post links to their own blogs in the body of the comment. You are more than welcome to link your username to your blog’s website, however.

  • HolyMoly

    I don’t think John was saying that the quarterback should have watched his language. I wouldn’t say that either. But the network that broadcast the language is where the fault lies, if there is any fault to be found.

    If I’m not mistaken, most live broadcasts are not actually “live”; they’re usually on a 10- or 15-second delay in order for the sound guy to bleep out any sort of language that could pop up in such situations. Could be that the guy somehow missed it..maybe he was high-fiving the other sound guy and didn’t hear it. Who knows? Personally, I think if the rules are in place, then the rules should be enforced with no exceptions. But it should be done quietly…there’s no need to make a huge flap about it. Just pay $10,000 or whatever it is, and be done with it. If the rules are silly, then they should be changed rather than simply not enforced.

    But this incident reminds me of something that is not unrelated. I remember one year either on Memorial or Veterans Day, one of the major networks aired “Saving Private Ryan” without commercials and without any edits. The language, graphic violence, etc., were left intact. You want to talk about F-bombs? There were more of those to be found in the movie than REAL bombs. However, this occurred with no FCC investigation or media flap. They simply broke in from time to time to warn viewers about the content, and apparently that’s all they needed to do.

    Maybe put a warning out for football games too, I don’t know.

  • Outspoken1

    Just be grateful it was not a breast!

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Well they’re ticked at CBS for not 7-second delaying it. I’m not sure how you do that – just black out the screen for 7 seconds right after they win? Good luck with that.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    You mean, the only way to stop a bad guy with the f-word is a good guy with a gun? The NRA might actually go for that.

  • hedgehoggy

    If only someone had had a gun, none of this would have happened…

  • Fred Carolina

    Alright, I see where parents can be mad, but really? It’s a word, people say it, and give the guy a break. His team just won the Super Bowl for crying out loud, so chill. And it’s not that terrible in comparison to the commercials and Beyonce’s half-time performance, so really? Cough to cover it up or just teach them it’s a bad word. It’s not anyone’s fault it was accidentally caught on tape.

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