By: Elizabeth Banquer and Emily Bennett
After the 2013 super bowl game between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49er’s, Joe Flacco, Ravens quarterback celebrated his win with teammate Marshall Yanda by dropping the F-bomb on live TV “within earshot of the CBS boom mic.”
Since live television can be so risky when it comes to the unknown, live shows are expected to be broadcasted on a five second delay to monitor such behavior. In this case however, Flacco’s F-word was not censored, bringing about controversy among the public as to what CBS was thinking. “The verbal vulgarity may grab the attention of the Federal Communications Commission, which has had trouble with Super Bowl broadcasts in the past.”
Flacco’s F-bomb did reach the Parents Television Council as president Tim Winter said “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. 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. The instance was aired live across the country, and before the FCC’s designated ‘Safe Harbor’ time everywhere but along the East Coast.’
CBS did not have to pay a fine for Flacco’s comment, however the PTC council has continued to blame CBS and other television networks for their lack of accountability.
The PTC previously led the charge against CBS after another Super Bowl, when Janet Jackson had her “wardrobe malfunction” in 2004. After an eight-year battle, the Supreme Court cleared CBS of its $550,000 fine after declining to pick up the case. However, nearly 13 years later and people still talk about it as if it happened this year.
The problem with live television is that you have to be on top of things at all times and make sure that what is being shown is acceptable for the general public. Organizations such as the Parents Television Council continue to fight for indecency on television to stop and for networks to have to pay more for indecency issues however there has not been great action towards that, just conversation.