CBS cameras catch colorful language during Colts game

September 13, 2010
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You’ve got to love those teachable moments on Sunday afternoons with the kids.

So what did you tell your kids when Indianapolis Colts wideout Reggie Wayne tangled with Houston Texans strong safety Bernard Pollard during the second half of Sunday’s game?

Unless you were in a coma, it was difficult to miss the expletive-laden tirade Pollard unleashed on Wayne. We’re talking hardcore cussing of the worst kind caught for millions—young and old—by the network’s television cameras (and microphones). I won’t go into specifics here, but let’s just say one of the words used by Pollard started with an ‘f’ and another included that same word, but started with an ‘m’ and had a couple more letters on the back end. And they were said in a most hateful way.

So, what did you tell your kids? What did you tell yourself? That these are grown men playing a violent game. That’s true. That sometimes emotions get the best of you when you’re in the heat of competition. Well, we are all human. Maybe you held up the U.S. Constitution and pointed out everyone’s right to freedom of speech and expression. I’m almost ready to start singing Yankee Doodle Dandy.

My personal favorite tactic is to act like nobody heard it. Yes, they say the dumb act will only get you so far. But it's worked for me to this point.

The participants in this game at this level must remember, the National Football League is a business, and its customers include young children and families. And while most people understand that a fair number of people cuss, that doesn’t mean they want a steady diet of it. And they certainly don’t want to consume it on Sunday afternoon with the younglings.

After all, what double standard directive do you give your kid to live by during the next Pop Warner game? Or any other competition for that matter? Or when he or she gets frustrated by someone or something at school? Well, shucks, they do it in the NFL. The same rules, more or less, should apply here. When you say it that way, it's quasi logical.

But in reality nobody wants to hear a Tanner Boyle impersonation, especially when it’s coming from your own kid. Why? It reflects poorly on you. Just the same way Pollard’s on-air act reflects poorly on the NFL.

Clearly Pollard, a Purdue University product, didn’t get Tony Dungy’s anti-cussing memo.

OK, maybe I’m being too harsh on Pollard. I’m not naïve enough to be blind to all the jawing that goes on down on a football field. As a former photojournalist, I’ve seen plenty of it up close. So I’m guessing Wayne might not have been a complete innocent. But I admire the way he walked away from Pollard with the CBS cameras pointed at him.

Dungy has from time to time been portrayed as a prude. He again got that label after he criticized N.Y. Jets Coach Rex Ryan after Ryan dropped a few f-bombs during a cable TV documentary last month.

But Dungy’s point is valid. Is one incident like this going to bring the almighty NFL to its knees? No. But no matter what you think about this sort of colorful language, there are enough people who don’t want to be exposed to it, and don’t want their kids exposed to it, that over time it eats away at the shiny image of the shield the NFL guards with a fleet of Loomis trucks.

In the end, what’s bad for the kids, is bad for business.

And the NFL can’t afford to turn a deaf ear toward it anymore.

  • Part of the package?
    I heard it too. But what I also saw was plenty of coaches and players cussing - caught not by audio, just by watching their mouths. I'm not a lip reader but sometimes its just obvious. If you had a front row seat at the game you would hear it, so I guess you can't expect to watch it at home and not see or hear it from time to time.
  • Though I should mention
    Most of the mouth reading came from watching the college games on Saturday. The Colts coaches were not victim, at least not yesterday from what I saw.
  • ears on fire
    My ears were on fire! I'm a big NFL/Colts fan, but that certainly isn't what I want my 11-year-old to hear. This sort of thing is increasingly putting parents in awkward situations with their kids. It needs to stop. Whether its through on-field rules changes for players or new directives for TV camera crews. It needs to stop ... or I'm betting some parents and kids will be tuning out.
    • Really?
      This is an issue? How about the performance of the offensive and defensive lines? I think that matters more to Colts fans this morning. I bet that performance resulted in a lot of expletives being shouted at televisions by fans.
      • It is an issue!
        Yes, Brian, believe it or not, to a lot of parents this is an issue. We're all sorry the Colts lost Sunday, but some of us are equally concerned with what our kids are exposed to on a daily basis. None of us parents can do anything about the Colts poor play, but we can do something about the players' choice of words. Tune out. That's what the NFL might want to be concerned about.
      • Was it Pollard?
        I've rewatched the clip on youtube and it sounds like it might have been Reggie Wayne letting the F-bombs fly. Pollard says, "get yo *** out of bounds", and then the tirade ensues. Either way, CBS needs to be quicker on the button. You can't expect an NFL game to go on with absolutely no cussing.
        • Get real
          Sam, I have multiple children myself. To me, the greatest fault lies with CBS. It would be crazy to think that the NFL could step in and clean up the language being used on the field, nor as as fan do I want them to focus on such a trivial matter. Cursing is a fact of life. It happens, and we'd both be naive to think that our children won't engage in it down the road. We can only do so much to shield them from it. I don't want Reggie Wayne thinking about his language when he's in the heat of the battle.
          • Rating
            I guess the real question is, as this is broadcast a an entertainment program, what is this program rated as for the viewing audience (i.e. TV-G, TV-MA, etc.)? If it falls within that criteria, I guess they're o.k. I would assume that everyone figures NFL would fall somewhere in the TV-14 range with the violence involved. I guess if as an adult, you feel your 14-year old should be hearing expletives, then it's o.k. I wouldn't agree with that as a father, so I would be upset if this was experienced in our household.
          • Brian
            Brian, Hopefully, you're not a parent. If you are, you leave a lot to be desired. Or perhaps you're just going through puberty and haven't grown up.

            Ultimately, there's no excuse for this type of behavior on live TV. This just shows how widespread the punk, gangsta mentality portrayed by the hip-hop generation has gotten.

            Sad and unacceptable....
            • hot button topic
              I'd say you've hit on a hot button topic here. I was very displeased with the job CBS did. Very displeased! I will say that Darth Yoda piqued my curiosity, so I re-watched the video of this play. I disagree with his conclusion. Watch the body language, and in particular the head bobbing. It coincides precisely with the foul and vile language uttered. Terrible! As far as I'm concerned he should be fined by his team, league or both. Would that be acceptable in high school or college. No. And for good reason.
            • Delay
              Maybe time for the six second delay like radio. . .

              Just be sure everyone knows it so some sucker doesnt fall for a bet! LOL
            • Delay, anyone???
              Ummm, Bob and Tom fans should be familiar with this. Someone in the CBS booth has a button that kicks in a delay while he deletes the offending audio. It's not rocket science. So why don't they do that?
            • Delay, anyone???
              Ummm, Bob and Tom fans should be familiar with this. Someone in the CBS booth has a button that kicks in a delay while he deletes the offending audio. It's not rocket science. So why don't they do that?
            • CBS should have addressed it
              I kept waiting for Greg Gumbel to apologized for what was caught on the field microphone. It wasn't necessarily their fault, but apparently they opted for the "pretend mo one heard it" option. Addressing it and apologizing to the viewers would have been appropriate. I am stunned they just ignored it!
            • Colts True Gentlemen
              I KNEW THERE WAS NO WAY that F@#$% said on live TV
              during the Colts vs Texans game yesterday couldn't have been my boys the Colts.
              And it wasn't! The obscenity's spewing forth was from the Texans, yeah
              *insert sarcasm here*
              real class acts down there in Texas
              (I've been there, lived there and I know, that's why I left!)
              I am no angel I have been known to let it fly, but, I don't appear on live
              television, with thousands of kids and family's watching, and say that garbage!
              Many kids look up to these guys,as hero's! great example!
              Yes like I said, I do let it fly myself, but I do try to
              keep it to a min, especially around young imperishable minds, (my kids do
              hear it way too much tho, yes from me, I do watch it around others to be
              courteous to others)(situational awareness people)
              Even if... even if... you are angry or crying like a little baby, there is always
              a chance that someone is listing!
              Act like professionals that is what you get paid for!
              My colts have to be the most even keeled team in the NFL
              You never see them showboating, or getting cocky.
              Yes yes, once in a while, tempers flair, and yes, they
              do celebrate there achievements, but not to the point of annoyance!
              no need to dance around like fools, no need to yell and
              be jerks they don't need to
              everyone knows they are great! Yes we did loose yesterday
              but even the great ones have a bad day, they are human,
              but, not hot headed!
              • don't think so
              • They start young.....
                This is the type of language I continue to hear on Friday nights too. I've heard things that even surprise my 45 yr. old ears.
                • My kids are just fine, thank you
                  Berwick, I have three sons, all of whom are pretty well-adjusted in spite of me, thank you. It's football and life. Cursing is part of it. If you don't get that, you're living under a rock. If you don't think your kids hear a lot worse at school, and more of it, then you're extremely naive.

                  I'd put more blame on CBS for not using the delay to block that language. The NFL doesn't need to step in. The job of players is to win football games. I don't want Reggie Wayne to have to worry about his language when he's in the heat of the battle. Now, if he's doing it a lot in pressers, then I would suggest that he needs to clean it up. But on the field, it's war.

                  Some of you act as if you've never dropped an f-bomb in your life. And as for the comment about today's thuggish culture, do you honestly believe that players didn't curse at each other in the days of Butkus, Unitas, Gifford and Brown?
                  • One more explanation
                    There is one more explanation you can use for your children. Simply tell them, as I told mine, that not everyone is good. Some people simply aren't nice or they just weren't raised in a way that taught them how to act in public, and the way others act should never cause you to lower yourself to their level.
                  • CHOICE
                    I would bet that every child who has been to preschool has heard the "F" word. The teachable moment for children is that language is a choice. There are good words and bad--words that build up and words that tear down. Your heart, character and reputation are shaped by the words you choose, so choose carefully and wisely.
                  • Offended by other content
                    I'm less offended by the rough language than by the ads for R-rated horror movies in the middle of the game. Bad language can, unfortunately, be heard everywhere - especially in sporting events. But nightmare-inducing movie promos are misplaced.
                  • Two-Faced Outrage
                    I am shocked at the feign shock and outrage people are voicing. I imagine that these same people use the same language at home or at work - not to mention that their kids are probably better at it then they are. We are the product of our very own making when all the TV, movies, video grames, etc. are so violent, outrageous, and in your face, what makes you think that someone will be in the Amen Choir come Sunday. It is a shame, but I see a bit of two-face reactions here.
                  • Teaching moment Ref
                    High School Official, it sounds like you are in a prime position to delay the coarsening of our society. I'm interested to know your subsequent actions in those moments of "surprise"... a teaching moment for the foul mouth or is it "all part of it"? (That's a cop out, Brian). Think about it and give us parents who care (and decent kids) some help in this battle for civility. And if it's "not part of your job", I bet a mandated and stiff penalty from the IHSSA would end it quickly.
                  • You hit the nail on the head Jennifer
                    Jennifer, you hit the nail on the head with the last part of your comment. "Bad language can, unfortunately, be heard everywhere - especially in sporting events." That's the biggest problem, that swearing has become part of the BRAND of sporting events, especially pro sporting events. And when something like that becomes part of your brand, that will turn a certain segment of your audience off permanently. I think some day, the NFL will realize that it's a significant part of their audience. Until then, get your popcorn ready, and put your ear plugs in.
                    • Brian
                      First of all, they didn't have thug punks playing pro ball back in those days. And, of course, I'm not naive enough to think they didn't swear. The difference is they knew how to behave professionally as a group. Most of today's players don't. They exist in a culture of profanity and don't care.

                      Bottom line - if they insist on being paid and treated as professionals, they should learn how to behave as professionals, including avoiding that type of language on the field. If they don't, they should be disciplined. If they can't learn to behave in a professional manner, they don't deserve to be there.

                      And that includes Reggie Wayne in the heat of battle. You are one of the "excuse" generation. Like my dad was - "Do as I say not as I do"!

                      No more excuses for the players or CBS. If CBS allows this one more time, I'm tuning out. I don't care how much I love football. I'm sick of the thug mentality. That's why I don't watch or go to pro basketball games anymore.

                    • I agree with Brian
                      If the network is going to broadcast conversations on the playing field it assumes responsibility for the content.

                      Pollard plays defense. He disrupts an organized attack and he is evaluated and paid on how well he does his job. If he finds that foul language is going to give him an edge he will surely use it the same as many professionals in business and law. Consider, for example, the vulgar chef on tv.

                      Parents have broad jurisdiction over their own child's language and may take appropriate action to ensure it comports with family standards.
                    • AS

                      You have to be kidding. I can't believe what you're saying. I attended dozens of little league games watching my grandson. I didn't hear any swear words from the parents or the kids. I've been to his basketball games, no swearing. I watched my son as a JV basketball coach while sitting in the stands. I didn't hear any such language. I sat in the Lower Paddock at the Indy 500. I didn't hear any foul language. I heard one guy swear when I took my grandson to a Reds game. I spoke to him about it. He was respectful and there was no recurrence.

                      Perhaps you have been hanging with the wrong crowd or attend with too many thugs? Frankly, though, I just don't see the connection.

                      As I said before, I'm sick and tired of the hip-hop punk, thug mentality with the associated music and behavior. Some people don't even care. Let them take their act somewhere else.
                    • Don't assume
                      Berwick, you come across as awfully arrogant. You don't know how old I am or of what "generation" I belong. You seem to assume that I feel I can do whatever I want and only expect my children to do as I say. Where did I say that I use that kind of language freely around my children? What I don't do is teach my children to look up to athletes as role models. They're there to entertain us. Please don't foist your father issues onto me.
                    • Easy fix
                      CBS should be ashamed for what we had to hear yesterday. When broadcasting the game live, why do the networks continue to put the camera (and mic for that matter) that close to players? This is an easy fix, just broadcast the game live from the standard view and show all of the close up shots on the replay. If the close up shots include bad language, do not show them on the replay.
                    • Offensive
                      Unfortunately, yesterday Pollard's cussing was loud, repetitive and very easy to understand for anyone wathching the game.

                      This is inexcusable and it is the responsibility of both, the NFL and CBS, not to mention the player.

                      I watch a Colts game with my family and I do not want my wife or my kids to listen to gratuitous profanity and violent language.

                      I sincerely hope that POllard gets fined big-time and that the FCC also considers some action against the broadcasters.

                      What happened with the 5 second delay that broadcasters were to implement in live broadcasts like this one? Where did it go?

                    • It's All Relative
                      My child could hear language this colorful any time if she were at my in-laws' house during a Colts game. She wouldn't hear it from the players on TV - she'd hear it from her true blue armchair quarterback uncles and grandfather. Actually, she could hear it pretty much any time she's around them.

                      Guess the NFL isn't entirely to blame...
                    • It is all relative...
                      I think the swearing is inappropriate but unfortunately it's part of life. If I had an 11-year old, boy or girl, I'd be more concerned about what they see and hear during the commercials---"if you experience an erection that lasts more than four hours...". I'd like to hear from parents as to how they explain to their children why drugs that aid you in having sex are advertised during the NFL games.
                    • double standards
                      I guess it's ok to see Jack Bauer stab someone in the stomach and rip a computer chip out a terrorist had swallowed is ok... but Bernard Pollard cursing on a football field is not. CBS should just not have the mics dialed in so close when the players are at shouting distance. I bet over half of the crap talking is cursed filled on the field. I'm sorry for families but that isn't changing anytime soon. You'd have more luck protesting CBS.
                    • GET REAL
                      Heat of battle, come on it's only a football game! Next you will say it's o.k. to use the language playing monopoly with your kids!
                    • uh... no
                      I bet Reggie Wayne wasn't commenting on Pollards good looks to cause him to react that way.
                    • Fines for foul language
                      Players should be fined for bad language. It is disrespectful! If it isn't then why don't we allow our teachers to drop the F bomb in the classroom or in front of your parents or grandparents or even with your pastor. It isn't appropriate on the field or in the classroom.
                    • It's everywhere
                      His language was clean versus the man I heard in a far eastside Marsh taking loudly to his buddy on his cell phone while talking about his displeasure with the Colts.
                    • Get Real
                      You've got to be kidding yourself... The NFL is enjoying unprecedented success, and a tirade of curses, heard mostly in Indy and Houston, won't even register as a blip on the radar. This is the same league whose chief sponsors are Budweiser and Coors. Do you really think the NFL is making an effort to appeal to those who would tune out because they heard cussing? If the NFL were worried about the profoundness of their influence on kids, they wouldn't be running the ads they do now. And if football fans were worried that their kids would be degenerates from watching, they would have turned it off a long time ago. But the TV sets keep tuning in, and the NFL keeps raking in the dough, which, by all means is their chief concern.
                    • high school parents
                      The worst language I hear comes from parents at high school games... especially football and basketball. It never ceases to amaze me the way they treat opponents and referees.
                    • too bad
                      It's too bad pro sports players really can't be role models. If that were the case, we'd all be a lot better off, and that includes the business end of the NFL. WISH-TV, which aired the game locally, also must bear some responsibility for this fiasco. WISH is the CBS affiliate and they need to speak up about this issue.
                    • Anthony Schoettle
                      You suck bro, you failed to mention that Wayne told Pollard to, "Get yo ass back in bounds, Nigga!" Don't put all the blame on Bernard, the blame for you and your stupid child hearing what was said has to be put on CBS.
                    • Take a step back Indy
                      I'm sorry bro that you have had bad experiences in Texas, I'm guessing you were in the Dallas area. Indianapolis' tirade is over and the Texans have been climbing up this ladder for the past couple of years. Admit it, even with your beloved Peyton controlling every single game he's ever played, the Texans have been almost toe-to-toe until last Sunday when they showed everyone what they're capable of.

                      Anyways, back to Pollard/Wayne; Wayne provoked the "hot headed" comments from Pollard by saying, "Get yo ass back in bounds, Nigga!" Now, in Texas them's fightin' words. At least, they are in Houston against a division rival. "Yes we did loose yesterday
                      but even the great ones have a bad day..." First of all you meant to spell "lose," but I guess you're not to familiar with the term as a colts fan. Secondly, that wasn't just a bad day, Arian Foster ran and ran then ran some more. They had to see it coming, especially in the second half while they were trying to comeback. The colts obviously have some serious run-stopping problems that will cost them more than just one "bad day."
                    • To parents
                      To all you parents out there concerned about the language, its plain and simple... DO NOT WATCH IF YOU DON'T WANT YOUR CHILDREN TO HEAR IT! DUH... go watch middle school football if you dont want to see grown men doing what they do. You ask to see this when you turn it on so don't be so shocked when it happens... this just confuses me, its not the players fault.. its yours.
                    • FCC Violation
                      Report this to the FCC. Parents do not need to explain to their young children what N**** means.


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