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Some troubling things going on with television sports broadcasts.

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RICHARD AMRHINE
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Date published: 10/19/2003

By RICHARD AMRHINE

continued

As a father, I don't understand the need for such behavior any more than I feel the need to rationalize it with my belief in freedom of speech and expression.

That bench-clearing brawl between the Yankees and the Red Sox last week merely heightened the entertainment factor for many fans and might have expanded the audience to include those who find baseball generally boring.

But I'm not sure it does baseball much good in the long run. It gives ammunition to those who fault the violence in professional sports and the example that is set for conflict resolution.

Emotions are running so high in big-time sports these days that a pitcher can't throw high and tight without the batter charging the mound. In football, any hard-nosed tackle is likely to spawn a fight.

Is this how we demonstrate to kids how to play the game? How do we teach decorum when this is what they see from the pros?

Well, at least there are the commercials to give us a break from all this questionable sportsmanship. Oops, better keep that remote control handy because here comes the promo for Fox's "Skin" again, the one about the pornographer's daughter who falls for the district attorney's son. Now there's a refreshing twist of "Romeo and Juliet."

Be careful, because if you flip to CBS expecting to see football you might instead catch the promo for "Cold Case," the one about the serial rapist who decides to make a comeback.

Better flip back--oh, no--it's a promo for the next lineup of bimbos on the new "Joe Millionaire" or hype for a segment from one of those Hollywood magazine shows about the hot trend of open-mouthed kissing among women.

"Eeeewwwwww, Daddy, let's go back to the brawl!"

If you want to watch sleaze or crime drama or "reality" trash, fine. But it's ludicrous for the networks to promote their most salacious programming during sporting events whose audiences include a large percentage of children.

In an era when image, unfortunately, is everything and nothing is left to the imagination, must we be continuously bombarded with images that tell us how shallow and base we've become?

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


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