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TV promos deserve a penalty flag page 2
X-rated television promos have no place in general-audience football games.

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Date published: 9/15/2002



There are lots of families out there, though, that appreciate the action and competitiveness of a football game. And rooting for one's favorite team is as American as the 4-3 defense. It shows kids that real players get in trouble if they don't play by the rules. It shows that athletes wear pads, that it's common sense to protect oneself, whether you're bicycling, rollerblading, or playing football.

But there is no need to subject impressionable young minds at every opportunity to the most violent and erotic moments of upcoming prime-time programs. In the interest of good public relations, the networks should agree to limit promotional spots to those shows that merit general audience ratings. Steamy and violent prime-time programs should be promoted during the prime-time hours in which they are shown, and later.

What's even worse is that the promos are repeated so frequently, so even if children fail to grasp the concepts involved and understand that this is grown-up stuff, they still mimic the activity and absorb the vocabulary.

More parents are keeping tabs on what their children watch on television. They're aware of studies that suggest that as a result of watching violent TV programming:

Children may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others.

Children may be more fearful of the world around them.

Children may be more likely to behave in aggressive or harmful ways toward others.

So it makes sense that parents would want their kids to avoid promos that might whet their appetites for such programs and such behavior.

Flipping over from Fox to the NFL on CBS isn't much of an improvement. Its football game promos seem a bit less nasty compared with those on Fox, but that may be a reflection of its less prurient programming.

Too bad NBC isn't carrying NFL games this season. We could be treated to promos for its expanding lineup of "reality" programming, with clips of people eating animal brains or swimming in vats of maggots. Can this really be the next generation of "must-see TV?"

And we wonder why people around the world think Americans are strange.

RICHARD AMRHINE is an editor and writer with The Free Lance-Star.

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