No. 690



Some time back I received a letter from a reader by the name of Myrta, who ascribed powers to me that I don’t possess. One of the things she said that may not mean anything to you, really made me feel humble. She said, “I have read many of your articles and have been inspired many times. While reading them, I have come to the belief that you are a moral, honest, caring man.” Myrta goes on to say, “I have a very deep concern for the morals of our children and anyone else who may be offended by the use of less than desirable language on, at present, ESPN TV.” She adds that I may be able to do something about this sad state of affairs.
If I could wave a magic wand and stop the profanity and other filthy language that we see and hear, not only on ESPN, but all other television and radio programs, I would certainly do it. Of course I don’t have this magic power and have never professed to have anything remotely close to it. The reason most people have a foul mouth is because they have a poor vocabulary. They feel they cannot express themselves in a forceful way without four-letter words working their way into the dialogue. This is especially true when it comes to leadership, because our nation’s youth are looking for someone who will take a stand for decency and good character.
The truth is, when it comes to athletics, there are millions of people across America who are really offended when they hear television commentators and coaches use four-letter words, but love the games so much they are willing to tolerate them. A while back, during a college football game telecast, I heard Brent Musburger use profanity. Brent has been on the scene for years and works for both ESPN and ABC Sports Television. He is a good man, but apparently does not realize what his example means to young people who are watching the game. In the old days you would never hear broadcasters like Curt Gowdy, Red Barber, Chris Schenkel or Jim McKay use four-letter words. The reason is because these men had class.
As already mentioned, it’s not just the broadcasters, but some coaches as well, especially during sideline or after the game interviews. I have heard both Alabama Coach Nick Saban and Florida Coach Urban Meyer use four-letter words. During one telecast they featured Nick Saban doing a radio interview and the station had to bleep him. This man works for a state-supported university and is responsible not only to the university for his character traits, but also the taxpayers of the state who are paying at least a portion of his salary. I guess now that Meyer has resigned,it is a moot point. While it will probably never happen, these coaches, as well as other foul-mouthed coaches across the nation, owe the American people an apology.
After this past presidential election we are seeing many changes in our federal government and there seems to be a renewed sense of optimism and hope that we will begin to turn things around and return to the values that made us a great nation. To my way of thinking, we also need a new day in America, not only in government and politics, but in every area of our society. We need to return to personal responsibility, integrity, character and leadership that will establish a good example for our young people. They are America’s future.
Sometimes it is the little things that make a big difference. One thing we can all do is work to clean up our language, A foul or filthy mouth just bespeaks of the poor character that has come to personify far too many of our citizens. Well Myrta, I have given it my best shot because I believe what you have said is true. Maybe other Americans who do have the power will take up our cause.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To support literacy, buy his book: “Learning, Earning & Giving Back.”)