TSN cited for profanity on its CFL broadcast, says its trying to get players to swear less

WARNING: This story contains explicit language.

TSN has been cited by the Canada Broadcast Standards Council after players on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats were heard saying naughty words on TV after scoring a touchdown.

It’s also trying to get the players to swear less.

According to the council report, which was released late last month, the incident occurred during a game between the Ticats and the Ottawa Redblacks last Oct. 27.

At 9:12 pm, the Tiger-Cats scored a touchdown.  There was a close-up of some Tiger-Cats players expressing their excitement and one player was heard yelling, “Yeah, motherfucker!”, then “Fucking go, boy!” and “Fucking, yeah!”

The next day, the CBSC received a complaint from a viewer who characterized the language as “disgusting and abhorrent” and pointed out that TSN 4 had “already received a ruling for the same offence”, but appeared not to have learned from that past experience.

TSN responded to the complaint by saying that it used microphones “to to capture the excitement and intensity of the game as it unfolds from the perspective of the players,”  and that “this unique audio and camera perspective make it difficult to anticipate the use of profanity by players which are then picked up by our adjacent live microphones.”

The broadcaster also said it had been in touch with the league to try and get the players to stop swearing so much when the cameras were around, to “make them aware of viewer feedback and to strongly caution them to exercise greater awareness throughout live games so as to prevent profanity from being part of the live television broadcasts.”

Both the complainant and the council were unmoved by TSN’s arguments. Apparently, the CBSC has a standing rule that the word “fuck” (and its variations) can only be aired after 9 p.m, regardless of context.

Accordingly, the Panel has determined that, in the present circumstance, TSN 4 violated Clause 10(a) of the CAB Code of Ethics for broadcasting coarse language intended for adult audiences in a program beginning before 9:00 pm.

This isn’t the first time TSN has gotten in trouble for allowing swear words to slip into the broadcasts. In May 2017, the broadcaster was cited for essentially the same thing and council offered three recommendations which included viewer advisories, “immediate repudiation by a host of such language when it occurs,” – essentially asking play-by-play and colour guys to admonish players for using bad words – and asking TSN to “to sensitize players, other on-field personnel, and the sports leagues to avoid using coarse language.”

Those recommendations don’t appear to have been followed or, if they have, don’t appear to have worked though it’s probably also worth noting that it was the same guy that complained both times.

So what are the consequences? Not much. TSN has to announce the ruling on its broadcasts a couple of times.

And good luck with getting players to swear less.

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
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Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1358 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

79 Comments on TSN cited for profanity on its CFL broadcast, says its trying to get players to swear less

  1. Michael Kulyk // May 7, 2018 at 9:57 am //

    let players swear all they want – remind TSN that the ‘c’ in CFL stands for canadian, not corporate

    • Billinburlington // May 7, 2018 at 8:16 pm //

      The solution is easy.. institute a new penalty for “use of profanity prior to 9 pm eastern standard time.” 10 yards for using the F word; an additional 5 yards for using “mother” as a pro-noun in the same phrase; plus down over if it was a TD or field goal. The Command Centre’s replay booth will be busy!

      • It’s a great idea and undoubtedly the only realistic solution, but I have some questions about logistics.

        First, it gets complicated when there are viewers out west. Do the players out east have to wait until midnight EST to swear if they’re playing the Lions? Hardly seems fair to me.

        Also, would the penalty be subject to coach’s challenge? If so, I could see this turning into another fishing expedition. “Yeah, I heard their number 89 utter a profane word in the direction of our quarterback after the interception”

  2. Swearing and sports go together I dont see this being stopped anytime soon .

  3. Oskee Wee Wee // May 7, 2018 at 10:03 am //

    Keep swearing boys b/c a pick 6 or kick return is F’n exciting. If they’re so worried don’t be on top of the players after TD’s. You’re not going to get grown to stop swearing.

  4. A complainant? One person?

    life must be slow at the CBS.

    • There’s absolutely no need and no room or any vacancy for using profound language in any aspect of sport. Those that are proponents a foul language obviously need to work on themselves. So grow up show some class and get your acts together

      • riderontheisland // May 7, 2018 at 12:06 pm //

        hahahaha, wait you were joking right. There is no reason for such language in my daugthers middle school but it still happens everyday.

      • As the french say: phoque you…haha …..i’ll swear when I want and so will the players…this is 2018….not puritanical England!!

        • Riders23 // May 7, 2018 at 12:55 pm //

          ahh yeah , such a classy person ya are Paul: shining example that moron with limited intelligence can buy a computer and figure how out to work it !!! Only those with limited self control IMO thing its their right to use profanity in the general public. Maybe if your out with the knuckle draggers on the oil patch do ya think every second word needs to start with a F. Again to each their won , your correct, but its NOT your ‘RIGHT’ To with out common courtesy use language others find offensive in public , swear all ya want in your trailer park home etc I could care less, but public domain si something else IMO. By the way , a closed environment like a hockey teams bench/ football sideline / playing surfaces are IMO unique environments , I agree with many of the common sense posters that its the duty of the broadcaster to sue common sense /professionalism/discretion when picking up conversations for the combatants in the ‘HEAT’ of the moment again them ( the networks ) its all about sales and ratings , IMO they scan for this content full well knowing that a certain IMO low life element of society tunes n to try can catch such langue as they then can feel such language is publically acceptable ( IE yokels like Paul above ) to use ona public daily basis .

          • ICBlue // May 7, 2018 at 6:31 pm //

            K I only read first line of your incessant crying and bellyaching. But would you please shut the H E double hockey sticks UP!!!

          • For someone so uptight about swearing, your lack of punctuation and proper spelling is pretty sad. The fact that you apparently don’t understand the difference between “you’re” and “your” weakens your case as well.

          • Killiam // May 7, 2018 at 9:01 pm //

            Well classy or not it is called free speech and must be allowed otherwise it is not free it is regulated like a dictatorship would do….as far as I last checked Canada is not that….though the gov’t tries

          • Judging from your post I think it’s safe to say a lot of “knuckle draggers” in the oil patch probably know how to spell better than you, asshole. Up yours you wannabe intellectual.

          • Habsnriders // May 8, 2018 at 11:10 am //

            Wow overreact much , you owe Paul an apology . Do you honestly think saying all those horrible things is any better than swearing , no what you just did is far worse . Please remove anything to do with being a rider fan from your sign in name you are an embarrassment to rider nation .

      • ICBlue // May 7, 2018 at 6:28 pm //

        Speaking of growing up. Grow up and get a life. People swear. Especially when playing sports. This isn’t the 1800’s. If grown men want to swear I think they are allowed. I’m sick and tired of babies crying about being offended. Go watch syncronized swimming if u can’t handle men being men and swearing. Jebus Lord Almighty and any other fake God. Haha ya I had to leave on an offensive point.

        • Riders23 // May 7, 2018 at 9:23 pm //

          right immature jackasses and moronic redneck rig pigs swear a blue streak , it is all that their tiny little backward minds can process regarding language processing , what an absolute piece of crap ya are ya moronic pig !!! hope biology saw fit and did not allow ya to procreate , low life that ya are !!!

      • I think you need to pull out the dictionary and check the word “profound”. Might help your next post carry a little more credibility.

  5. The solution is simple—keep the camera off the players in such situations or rig it such that there’s no audio feed when the camera is on these guys!

  6. Ticats fanatics will be cursing when this team goes 0-5 to start the season !

  7. Doug Mc Clintock // May 7, 2018 at 10:12 am //

    This is nothing new, but am glad there is a watch dog to try and curb such coarse language. It has got so common anymore but it shows you what kind of person you are if you use such vile words. 3DownNation should do the same on this post and delete these words. Come on people use wholesome language, some of you are terrible !You like clean living, start with your vocabulary, be classy to get your point across !

  8. lol in reality, this is not worth a comment lol

  9. TSN might have to do a tape delay and beep out the profanity for the on field reactions. Shades of Bobby Clarke from the 1970’s.

  10. Talk Radio uses a 7 second delay with a kill switch. But seriously only children need to be shielded from this.

  11. Jerrigan // May 7, 2018 at 10:36 am //

    This is what content theft looks like. Drew Edwards cites the Council Report and reproduces the provocative parts of it but does not link to it.

  12. Ummnn so why do we need live mikes? They provide no insight to the game and turn off the young fans parent’s wjen they hear it. Isn’t the CFL all about attracting younger fans and shouldn’t its broadcast partner be in step with that?

    Players aee NOT to blame it is the idiotic idea if putting mikes at field level. TSN morons need to stop forcing this ridiculous mike idea

    • Anthony Drpic // May 11, 2018 at 1:19 am //

      Agree. Absolutely useless. Only Glen Suitor thinks it is so great for the league and of course the rights holders who happen to be TSN. That’s why I’m finding myself less interested in this league. A buddy of mine told me something. It goes like this, your a fan of the league,just don’t tell anybody.

  13. TSN is a paid for cable network. If you Don’t like it remove it from your content. Simple.

  14. riderontheisland // May 7, 2018 at 12:09 pm //

    I would like to see more self awareness by players, but I don’t expect it to change much because it’s them showing passion. What makes me laugh is that if the CFL is getting this response, what is the NHL getting. You always hear the f-bombs and you don’t have to be deaf to read those lips from the coaches on down to most every player on the bench.

  15. John Davis // May 7, 2018 at 12:11 pm //

    For starters I have a few words for the sole
    complainant – get a life. A couple of episodes in a couple of years and you’re complaining? Our languages are not stagnant, they change, and as they change some expressions may not be acceptable, or appropriate to some people, but those words become part of the language and most will wonder what the fuss was about. You can’t stop it just because you don’t like it because you’re not the only one speaking the language – and it changes. Don’t like it? Other people have rights too!

    • Riders23 // May 7, 2018 at 12:37 pm //

      NO sorry the F-bomb is IMO not a natural evolution of common conversational language, its vulgarity/profanity pure and simple. I am not a prude to any extent but a spade is a spade; the f-bomb is a derogatory term usually meant as a insult in its origins not a descriptive verb/adverb meant to highlight normal conversation on a day to day basis. Use of language in the more modern context IMO originated in at the time EDGY RAP— Hip Hop to aid the effect of social anger/commentary reading certain elements of society and for its SKOCK value !!!! As your pointing out the overuse of such langue has led some to believe the use of such language is acceptable daily conversation , HOW sad and MORONIC for those without intellect enough to actually find a word other then a vulgar term to express emotion/anger in todays society !!!! Evidence that some of us have not gone to far from the CAVE man stage of development .

      • ICBlue // May 7, 2018 at 6:35 pm //

        No you are text book definition of prude!

      • William Watson // May 7, 2018 at 8:20 pm //

        “SKOCK value”?, “a insult”?, a demonstrated misunderstanding between “its” and “it’s”, the repeated overuse of exclamation marks!!!!!, absolutely clueless as to the proper use of a comma.

        And that’s just for starters…

        Who is in fact being the SAD MORON here? I’m not often a grammar Nazi but if you are going to whine about others’ use of language you may want to get your own house in order first. I’d much rather listen to or read articulate, well written or spoken discourse with the occasional vulgarity thrown in than a judgmental, puritanical diatribe written at grade two level grammar.

        • That’s a Slider fan for you William. You really can’t expect much else; otherwise you be expecting too much.

          • Habsnriders // May 8, 2018 at 11:55 am //

            Stop lumping all rider fans in with one . I’m sure that all lion fans don’t want to be lumped in with you . BC Dave is a lion fan with class you are pretty much mr red with a different team .

      • Habsnriders // May 8, 2018 at 11:20 am //

        So you don’t swear but you seem to think it’s ok to say these horrible things about people you don’t even know . Look in the mirror . Oh btw I’m pretty sure Lancaster swore so does that make him a low life knuckle dragger too.

  16. this is so stupid. leave the players alone.

  17. If you don’t like what you see or hear on the broadcasts, then don’t watch it. You control your choices, so quit whining, & grow a pair!

  18. Riders23 // May 7, 2018 at 12:28 pm //

    Seriously , CBS< hmmm, have YA watched 3/4 of the crap that is on prime time now ??????? CBC has several shows that have Dropped the F-bomb, several times , not to mention other network stations and their shows that do similar. POT — Kettle ,etc, etc ,man , don't know whether to scream a the absurdity of this article or laugh at it, based on all the other crap CBS lets slip by . .

  19. Darker Ryder // May 7, 2018 at 12:30 pm //

    This is the true reality TV, your going to get passion expressed in language.
    Why is everybody so easily offended these days, and want to share their hurt feeling all over social media. As my son would say” take a pill”!

  20. The snowflake that complained should find another sport to go to…..how about badminton, or croquet , or maybe paint drying. These are men playing a sport where they beat the crap out of each other. Taking into account at that time of the year HAMILTON was highly emotional as every game meant something and the frustration and joy comes out as boys do with a string of #&@*#+#/#). It’s as part of the game as breathing. Most networks try to bleep but the technology of the mic’s now is so good your gonna hear what your gonna hear. I’m a girl and in a football game I love it !!!! It’s the rawness and guts of the game. I could go and say it’s almost appropriate on the field of war. But when you kids or other adults use it as common as water because their too lazy to actually form a word and use the English language then that’s a problem. Double standard….. hypocritical sure…….but hey football is not a game for the faint of heart. Go Cats Go can’t wait till training camp

  21. I wonder how easy it would be for TSN to use TV censorship where profanities are replaced with family friendly words. It might sound something like this:
    “Yeah, monkeyfighter!” “Fun times go, boy!”, and “Friday, yeah!”

    The movie Snakes on a Plane is one great example of this technology being used successfully.

  22. Gooseen // May 7, 2018 at 12:53 pm //

    It’s a word. Just a word. Not a stick, not a stone. A collection of letters strung together so when pronounced in English makes for a very satisfying release of pent-up tension (in any form).

  23. This is so predictable. Foul language is heard during EVERY game. It is a part of sports when players get amped up and excited. It is also a very easy fix. When the cameras are rolling around at field level TURN THE MOTHER F’N MIC’S OFF and replace the sound with some music over or sounds of the game that are known to be safe. It is awkward as heck when the cameras focus on a player after a score and expect a reaction then immediately cut to the commercial break. Simply film the on field reaction to capture the excitement but screen it for foul language and fix it before showing the replay and reaction after the commercial. Forget the apologies for when it happens and focus on not letting it happen.

    • ICBlue // May 7, 2018 at 6:41 pm //

      Or just have people who are offended but words go watch something else. I guarantee it wasn’t even a football fan. Probably channel surfing. I just can’t imagine being that big a loser that I’d complain about some one sleeping.

  24. And for the people dumping on men for their use of foul language in sport I have also heard the F-bomb in women’s curling. Not as much but it still gets used.

    • White Horse // May 7, 2018 at 7:35 pm //

      Crap….kids hear worse language in school daily.
      Let’s live with reality. Kids just snicker? That’s what I did during my youth!!!

  25. BJ Brunneg // May 7, 2018 at 2:02 pm //

    I have to agree that it’s a pretty stupid idea to have the mikes on when the camera is right in the player’s face and he’s expressing emotion. Turn the mike off.
    In fact, I don’t see why, after a big play, they put the cam on the player sitting on the bench for what seems like an eternity while he waves and says “Hi Mom”, then tries to come up with something else to say. Quick shot then move away to something else. Like the actual game……

  26. Look for the CFL and TSN to issue a list of “acceptable” game-use words and phrases. For example:
    – Yay!
    – Awesome!
    – Excellent!
    – Congratulations!
    – Hooray! (or Hurrah! or Huzzah!)
    – Well done fine sir!
    – Jolly good show!
    – That was fab!
    – Super!
    – Delightful!
    – Let us rejoice!
    – Yippee!
    etc…..

    They’d need one to express displeasure as well.

    • – Drats!
      – Phooey!
      – Hogwash! (borderline, may be too offensive for live TV)
      – Fiddlesticks!
      – I assertively disagree with that penalty, Mr. Referee!

  27. All I’m gonna say is…[email protected]*k off. Lol.

  28. For the guy that says profanity has no place anywhere, go watch competitive knitting it might be more your speed.

  29. Doubleblue // May 7, 2018 at 3:45 pm //

    Hahaha. So stupid. One complaint??? Grow up everyone.

  30. Can’t see why TSN would be faulted for this. They can’t control what players might say and they need the audio for production values.

  31. I believe they said “fuddle duddle”.

  32. Lets all GROW up; we are all adults. Can you honestly tell me that you NEVER utter a profanity; or have never uttered a swear word in front of your kids. Get a life…political correctness has gone too FAR.

  33. Big Al // May 7, 2018 at 6:40 pm //

    It’s an intense man’s game with lots of emotions. I’m sure TSN does not go out of its way to look for athletes to swear but it happens.
    Grow up you whiner. Can’t handle it then turn it off. It’s that easy.

  34. CatLady // May 7, 2018 at 8:35 pm //

    This is ridiculous. It’s just a word, some people need to chill out. If you’re watching with kids, they probably won’t even notice if you don’t draw attention to it. If you run to cover your child’s ears, they’ll only wonder why you did that. It’s honestly best to ignore it and if the child does hear and ask “what did that man say?, just tell them that they said “fudge” or something.

    Bonus – then your child goes around calling people “motherfudgers”, which is f’ing hilarious. Some people are such prudes over silly words.

  35. After all the comments above for those who think that language is ok for their children to hear is beyond comprehension. Saying that it is up to TSN to comply with regulations. The TSN revenues for each team basically covers the teams cap each year. So we should all including TSN figure this out otherwise with attendance down CFL will suffer. Those negative bloggers don’t see the social or business side nor the legal regulation side.

    • This is the type of reaction that makes all parents look like fools.

      It is YOUR responsibility to shield YOUR children from the parts of the world you don’t want them exposed to. Its not everyone else’s responsibility to create a bubble-wrapped world for your offspring.

      And for the record, I watch games with my kids and have never had a problem with any language. A parent’s role is to teach their children about the world, not blindfold them to it.

  36. Very simple. Speak to others like you would to your own grandparents, parents or kids. Its simply called COURTESY and RESPECT to others that are around you or can hear what you say. The players being interviewed need to know this UP FRONT before the interview starts simple as that.

  37. I like the colorful language during a game sometimes you pick up some American profanity that sounds hilarious.

  38. Need to have thumbs up or thumbs down on comments

  39. In a nation of over 30 million people where 1 complaint can garner soooooo many comments is crazy.

  40. Habsnriders // May 8, 2018 at 11:48 am //

    I found out the complaint came from Ned Flanders . Iddly diddly this swearing is to diddly much for Rod and Todd .

  41. Tiger man // May 8, 2018 at 12:37 pm //

    Perhaps, TSN can instruct those that cart around the satellite type microphones at field level to stand further away from the action.

    Meantime, post a warning like they do for TV shows and movies that the language may be offensive to some.

    And those who are so easily bothered by such words could either join the rest of us in the real world, or switch to PBS or TVO.

  42. What an utterly ridiculous complaint and an even more ridiculous decision from the CBSC. Its as if they woke up that morning and asked “how can we make ourselves look like fools today”?

    The complainant even ridiculously tries to claim that NFL players don’t swear, only CFL players.

    This is what I hate most about our society. Millions of fans watched CFL broadcasts this season, but because of one single prude, suddenly changes have to be made. What about the millions who had no problem with it?

  43. timbits // May 9, 2018 at 10:24 pm //

    what is this the ref threw a challenge flag because he heard foul language coming from the side lines up to the command centre for review well Duane ford if he gets this right he can swear all he wants at the players and if he is wrong no more flags for the rest of the game..

  44. Outwest // May 12, 2018 at 5:35 pm //

    Good posts Riders23 couldn’t agree with you more. And no it’s not free speech to be vulgar in public you are infringing on people’s freedoms using such language, it’s classless it’s immature its rude and pathetic. And no I’m no preacher I’m a rig hand trust me I know lots of words and use them at the appropriate time. In public around people or on public camera is not the time. It’s called respect and class some of you definelty are lacking in it and have none. I can tell when I’m standing in line at the store with my grandchildren and dicks like you are behind me swearing like the assholes you are. Again, classless, rude and pathetic. We can tell by the off field behaviour that many of these players were raised like many of you, to be me only assholes.

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