In 2013, Words Matter in Sports, But Profanity is Unavoidable

Dec 9, 2013

After a long tenure at the Associated Press John Affleck is now Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society at Penn State.
Credit Penn State University / College of Communications

In a recent op-ed for the Associated Press, sports journalist  John Affleck, examines modern sports culture and language. As evident from the title of the article, in 2013 Words Matter, Even in Sports.

“Really, I think it was the Incognito/Martin mess down in Miami that really drove it home for me that what we were really seeing this year was a set of stories where the behavior of sports figures was just completely beyond the bounds of anything you would think of as acceptable in a professional environment.”

Yet when it comes to a ban on profanity in locker rooms, on the field, and on the sidelines, Affleck says,

“I don’t think it would be possible. If you ban cursing in baseball, or football or basketball you would have nobody on the court, nobody on the field. A friend of mine, who is a highly respected basketball writer, once said to me, ‘Coaches speak two languages English and profanity.’ The difference is going beyond, and making a point emphatically.”