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How MTV Ruined the Super Bowl
by Doug Hagin
03 February 2004

MTV's halftime show featured men wearing women’s clothing, crude rap star punks, trampy cheerleaders and Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake doing sexually inappropriate things in public. What does any of that have to do with football?


The Super Bowl is a sporting event that transcends sports in America and the world. Hundreds of millions of people all over the globe watch and listen as the two best football teams on earth battle for supremacy and the hallowed Vince Lombardi Trophy.

As this spectacle of sport has grown to its current level of media frenzy and super hype, the actual game has actually taken somewhat of a backseat to pre-game shows (which lasts longer than a Britney Spears marriage), post-game shows, post-post-game shows and of course the often ridiculous halftime shows.

I must confess I love football as I love no other sport. The strategies, tactics, drama, excitement are a love I have had for 28 years now. And of course watching the Super Bowl is the climax of six months of football memories built over the season passed. And surely this year’s Super Bowl turned into one of the all-time great games.

The New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers played their hearts out and gave football fanatics some images and memories we will never forget. This was the type of game that reaffirms the dedicated fan's love of the sport and makes new fans of those who watch for the first time.

Surely the 32-29 Patriots victory will be remembered fondly. That halftime show, however, was another story entirely. Football fans, most of whom care nothing about the halftime show, were exposed to some pretty raunchy stuff at the year’s extravaganza.

There were men wearing women’s clothing, crotch grabbing rap star punks, stripping cheerleaders and Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake fondling each other during a duet. What does any of that have to do with football?

The big finish, though, featured something even more stunning and deplorable. As America watched, Justin Timberlake ripped part of Jackson’s top off, revealing a breast covered only by a strategically placed pasty. I guess watching the big game with your kids might soon need an NC-17 rating.

We of course should have been able to see this coming. The halftime show was put together by the folks at MTV, who seem to think everyone enjoys debauchery and trashy behavior as much as they do. Instead of just allowing the talent of the entertainers to carry the show, as the beautiful Beyonce Knowles did with her classy and stirring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, the folks at MTV decided to go for the trashy behavior which has become a hallmark of their network and especially their award shows.

Make no mistake, I am certainly no prude, and I am surely not suggesting any type of government-sponsored censorship here. The MTV crowd has a right to do what they do whether it offends people like me or not. But I do hold a right to call it what it is -- sleazy, classless, and degrading to the game of football and its fans.

The moral decline in our society is certainly not solely the fault of MTV or Janet Jackson’s bare breast. But these things surely do not help things improve either. The entertainers who took part in the halftime fiasco are all talented people who can persuade millions of young people with their music and message. So why do they insist on shocking their audiences instead of simply letting their gift of music speak for them?

Does Jackson’s striptease make her any more talented? Does she need the exposure to boost album sales? Of course not, she is already a mega-star. She does not need to be noticed or to exploit herself.

This is especially true when performing on national TV before an audience which includes millions of kids. Seeing Jackson’s breast is not going to turn any child into a pervert. Most small children likely giggled at the sight. And the behavior probably broke no laws. But shouldn’t Janet Jackson feel some responsibility to be a better example for young children?

There used to be some acceptable behaviors and some which were not considered acceptable in America. There used to be standards that people abided by and respected. For years now, those values and standards have been under assault by those on the far-left who like to say, “ If it feels good do it.” And if they wish to live their lives in that manner then that is their business. But they are not content with the freedom to live as they wish; they want to encroach upon everyone else with their “open-mindedness.”

Make no mistake -- it is the responsibility of parents and not government to raise kids and to censor what they see. The day we give that responsibility over to Washington we are lost. But MTV should have at least enough class to not sneak such raunchiness into a show parents have no reason to think will contain it.

Yes MTV has a right to do it, but they darn sure are dead wrong to do it.


Doug Hagin resides in Dallas and hopes to one day be a nationally syndicated columnist with his own radio show
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