Should Pro Athletes Be Suspended for Swearing at TV Cameras?

Pretty interesting TV-related controversy right now brewing in England surrounding Manchester United soccer star Wayne Rooney, who on Saturday scored a goal and then ran to a TV camera, looked right into it, and dropped a couple f-bombs on live TV. Classy, right?Rooney may get suspended, and it makes me wonder if the same could and should happen here in America.

Here’s the background. Manchester United is like the Yankees - they win all the time and are loved or loathed around the world. Most of their fans never have lived within miles of Manchester; they are Londoners or Americans or Asians who like to cheer for winning teams. Some of their “fans” can even name two or three players on the team.

Rooney is a miniature Shrek lookalike who is really, really good. Scores goals by the bushel and has a checkered past and has often been clobbered by the media for his play, off the field as much as on.

Anyway, with his team losing 2-0, Rooney scores three goals in about 15 minutes to basically wrap up the regular-season championship for his team. And after his third goal, he ran right to a camera, addressed TV viewers around the world (including live on ESPN2 in the U.S.), and taught kids everywhere words we parents really don’t want them to know.

The question is should he be suspended for that? Early indications are he could be facing a two-game ban.

I think one game is plenty, but he absolutely needs to be suspended to be made an example of. It’s one thing if cameras and microphones pick up the profanity that takes place as part of the regular flow of the game - or a Rex Ryan-led practice. That’s sports.

But running right to a TV camera and swearing multiple times is not part of what happens naturally during a game or a practice. If a MLB, NFL or NBA player did it, I absolutely would back a suspension.

TV partners pay tons of money to air these games, and the last thing they need is to have players running to their cameras and swearing like they’re trying out for Jersey Shore.

The only profanity my kids should hear during that game is me swearing when Manchester United wins.