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February 10, 2004

The Pot Calling The Kettle Black

Derek Shackelford

On February 1, a great football game took place between the Carolina Panthers and the New England Patriots of The National Football League. They called it The Super Bowl. And the game was just that.

It had everything a sports fan could want - or imagine: defense, offense, exciting plays, and end of the game drama. There were two significant emotions displayed after the game - the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

Unfortunately, this event will not be remembered for its late game heroics, the winning field goal or the gifts of athleticism demonstrated on the field. Super Bowl XXXVIII will be remembered for the antics during the halftime show.

Singer Janet Jackson and pop phenomenon Justin Timberlake overshadowed the game. Everyone pretty much knows the story about Ms. Jackson bearing her breast in front of a national television audience and a sold-out stadium. We should also be reminded that Mr. Timberlake assisted Ms. Jackson with what is being called a “wardrobe malfunction.”

All last week newscasts, newspapers, and radio shows put a spin on what really happened. Both entertainers were in agreement, only one knew, the other one didn’t; MTV, the producers of the segment, didn’t know; the NFL surely didn’t know this was going to happen.

At the outset no one wanted to take responsibility. All parties involved shifted blame from one to the other. Even the general public weighed in with its opinions.

For some odd reason this story has dominated our public attention. The truth be told, there is enough blame to go around, the general public included. We have preoccupied ourselves with the notion that this was inappropriate because children were watching the halftime show.

This is definitely true, but the hypocrisy of CBS and the NFL is astonishing. Keep in mind that during the game, the commercials included beer commercials with sexual overtones; medications to enhance sexual performance; and car commercials which included sexual overtures. And the NFL itself promotes scantily clad cheerleaders on the sidelines.

Yes, people sex sells just about everything. CBS knows it. MTV knows it. The NFL knows it. Janet Jackson knows it. Justin Timberlake knows it.

It seems as if all these people know it, but we - the general public -do not, or do we? The truth really be told, we have accepted it as the norm, but want to place the blame everywhere else except where it belongs - with us.

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