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Thursday, December 18, 2008

What the FuCC??

And the horse they rode in on,....

It was the F-bomb heard round the world . . . or at least the Philadelphia area.

And Phillies second baseman Chase Utley's use of the colorful adjective during the team's World Series victory parade on Oct. 31 has landed in the lap of the Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC reports it received 26 complaints from the public about Utley's language, which was heard live, in the late afternoon, on at least five television stations and one radio station, KYW (1060). Nielsen Media Research estimated that more than 825,000 local viewers saw part of the parade on CBS3, 6ABC, NBC10, Fox29, or Comcast SportsNet.

Whether any of the stations will face sanctions is not clear. An FCC spokeswoman said Tuesday that the agency does not comment on open issues.

The complaints - copies of which were requested by The Inquirer under the Freedom of Information Act - assign equal blame to Utley and the stations. The identities of the complainants were redacted.

"If they didn't want such words to be broadcast, they should have aired [it] on a delay to catch any obscene language," wrote a viewer from Philadelphia. "Pull their license to broadcast."

Another viewer wrote: "He should be disciplined for his lack of respect towards his fans and in particular the children exposed to such vulgarity. . . . The broadcasters are not at fault. Chase Utley is."

Another: "This was not a casual slip. This was an intentional misuse and abuse of the public airwaves. . . . How am I to explain such profanity to my child?"

And another: "It was embarrassing that he was allowed to do that and if there are no ramifications I will be furious. Is there no platform that is sacred anymore?"

Utley, who would not face sanctions himself, addressed his language Monday during a news conference about his surgically repaired hip: "I tell all kids not to use that word. If they're 29 and they win the World Series, I think they can say that. But I definitely would say to all the kids out there, 'Kids, it's a bad word. Don't say it. And I'm dead serious.' "

Anchors on most stations apologized after the speech, which was not subject to the delays common in talk radio. The stations themselves this week recalled receiving few if any complaints. The stations either declined to comment or did not respond to inquiries this week.

The case - the uttering of a fleeting expletive in a live setting - may become part of a battle between the FCC and broadcasters.

The audio and video in Citizens Bank Park, at the end of the parade, was provided by Comcast SportsNet under a pool arrangement to local broadcasters. SportsNet would not face sanctions because it is a cable network, not a broadcaster, and is not subject to FCC indecency rules.

SportsNet, which has made the parade video available through Comcast On Demand, recently edited out Utley's comment.

Here's the unedited version - NSFW - will curve the spines of Vestal Virgins and cause autism in small children (/snark!)

The TrekMedic sez:

For cryin' out loud, we haven't won the Big One in 28 years. Chase rarely gets in front of a microphone. He was probably still half-lit from all the champagne. Cut him a f**king break.
Oh, yeah,...and we're Philadelphia sports fans! We throw snowballs at Santa!!

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At 7:50 AM, Blogger Charlie on the PA Turnpike said...

Trek, this is an example of how ALL professional athletes demonstrate what little respect they have for their fans.

Look, I am not offended by the F-bomb, I've used it far too often myself. But never in front of thousands of fans, on a live mic, at such an important event as the first time my team won the Series in 28 years.

I can excuse a slip-of-the-lip, but not an intentional act.

Along with the disrespect to fans: pardon me, but in the video isn't he dressed a little like a thug?

This isn't a Philly issue, its an issue of all pro athletes in all cities. They should all show a little respect.


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