Pro-sports too R-rated for kids

Daniel Barone

Shaq’s obscenities in an interview and the now famous “boob incident” in the Super Bowl have to strike a nerve in some parents around the country. In just one week, a child of any age could have seen a breast at the Super Bowl halftime show, or heard the “F word” and “S word” used during nationally televised sporting events. In the wake of Kobe Bryant’s rape trial, the question of whether these athletes are role models looms at a magnitude greater than ever before.

The three aforementioned examples put an interesting twist on the subject. One incident was on the court, one was off and the other was not even an athlete. What they have in common is that they are a terrible influence on America’s youth, and they are all connected to professional sports in this country. For entertainment purposes, and for adults, these incidents are viewed from a different perspective than from a child’s eyes. Parents can no longer effectively judge what will be appropriate and inappropriate for their children to watch.

With so much criticism on today’s athlete, they have to be more socially responsible. Aside from legal troubles that seem to plague a high percentage of professional athletes, sports in general are becoming too vulgar. Kobe Bryant made a mistake akin to that of other spoiled pro athletes. This has been a problem for many years especially in the NBA. The problems have escalated, however, and this past week has been especially disgraceful.

When criticizing officials, Shaquille O’Neal may have had a justifiable point, and we all have let a curse slip here and there, especially in the heat of the moment. However, when he was reminded that the interview was live, Shaq replied “I don’t give a sh*t.” This is a guy who usually keeps his cool despite the situation, but in this case, he could not have been more wrong. This nationally televised game was seen by millions across the country, and the live broadcast allowed everyone to hear the obscenities.

No less than a week later, the biggest sporting event of the year became a giant ethical controversy. One of the greatest Super Bowls in history had a dark shadow cast upon it by the MTV halftime show.

When Janet Jackson’s breast was exposed, a national controversy immediately developed, and it even caused me to change my writing subject for the week. My six-year-old brother was watching the halftime show, along with millions of other youths across the world. What has traditionally been a family and friends event now has parents wondering what sports they should let their children watch. MTV has historically been criticized by parents for vulgarity as well as negative influences on youth. They acted completely irresponsibly and inappropriately this past weekend, thinking only of entertainment.

One solution to this problem is tape delay. While everyone wants to see a game being broadcasted live, a 30 second to a minute delay would give editors a chance to fix any unexpected problems. For athletes, don’t fine Shaq $295,000 and suspend him for one game – but suspend him for 10 games and really hurt his team.

The Super Bowl should have been more conscious of what performance they were getting. I’m sure there have been quite a few people fired in the wake of the “prop failure” that occurred.

In general, we need to protect the youth of America from the vulgarities that are seeping into sports. The children aspire to be the very people who set horrible moral examples for them. The athletes and events need to be regulated before sports are ruined for the youth of America, or before they ruin the youth of America.