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Ron Jaworski Swears on Air, Apologizes After – Are You Offended? [VIDEO]

ESPN analysts Tony Kornheiser and Ron Jaworski - Al Messerschmidt, Getty Images

If you happened to be watching Monday Night Football’s presentation of the Patriots beating up on the Dolphins, you probably caught yourself wondering “did I just hear what I thought I heard?” Yes, ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski said the “s-word” on national television – cable television, but TV nonetheless. While a few people freak out about the virgin ears of children (who realistically should have been sleeping), I’d like to provide a couple thoughts.

First and foremost, if you venture over to Comedy Central after 9pm Central, the word Jaworski said is brandished like a fun toy by the likes of South Park. ESPN, and sports presentations in general, are quite a bit different than South Park; but this is a growing norm on subscription TV services in the evening. With that said, I don’t think it should be permissible for swearing in a sports broadcast. I’m just providing a little perspective as to the growing norm on cable/satellite TV regardless of whether you think it is right or wrong.

Thankfully the TV police parental groups aren’t rushing to the scene demanding swift action. I think the world realizes this really was a simple accident and headlines surrounding the incident tend to be more along the lines of “hey, look what that guy said” rather than “he sullied our television experience.” Sure, the guy may have broken one of the cardinal rules of broadcasting, but this is pretty low on the offense scale compared to what could happen during a broadcast.

Sports fans are undoubtedly passionate people. Think back to the last time you watched a game with your friends, or even by yourself, and it won’t take much to to recall some spirited chatter or maybe an outburst or two. The guys calling a game or providing analysis are no different in terms of passion. The difference is they have an audience listening to what they have to say, making word choice a little more important.

I’ve seen this passion go a little too far firsthand. Calling a college baseball game early in my career, my broadcast partner forgot about the mic and reverted mentally to a setting in which he and I were enjoying a beer and talking sports. It made for an awkward broadcast moment, and repercussions followed, but these things do happen.

A little bit of news is still being made of the fact that ESPN didn’t employ a tape delay of the game to allow for a “bleeping” of vulgar language. This is pretty common practice after the racier live incident between Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson during the Super Bowl a few years ago, but ESPN has apparently not made a practice of it for their games. This was also apparent in ESPN2′s coverage of the NCAA Men’s Frozen Four Champoinship, where a UMD player’s on-ice comment got caught by a camera mic and shared with the world. Is this a big deal? I don’t tend to think so. It is more understandable for network broadcasts (NBC, FOX, CBS, ABC) to employ a tape delay. Traditional over-the-air broadcast networks are held as sacred ground when it comes to language and content, whereas cable and satellite channels aren’t held to the same standard.

So, are you offended? I surely hope not. As they say, $#!% happens, so let’s all just point, laugh, and move on.

Here it is, one of the rules being broken as captured by the broadcast of Monday Night Football. Enjoy.

http://youtu.be/42hTUkQgMOc

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