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Archive for Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Fox again withholds replay of end-zone celebration

January 18, 2005

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To show or not to show? That again was the question facing the Fox network Sunday, and as it did a week earlier, it chose not to air replays of animated end-zone antics from a player who had just scored a touchdown.

But there figures to be much less furor this time, because there were no critical comments from anyone in the broadcast booth. Seven days earlier, play-by-play broadcaster Joe Buck uttered a three-sentence condemnation of Randy Moss' simulated mooning of the crowd followed by the rubbing of his rear end on a goal post. That led to a weeklong whirlwind of controversy for the announcer.

This time, Philadelphia's Freddie Mitchell acted as if he was pulling up his pants, then did a simulated belt buckling.

"You guys do realize what just happened there, don't you Joe Buck?" analyst Cris Collinsworth asked on the air. Then Collinsworth said, as the replay of the TD was about to air, "I'm gonna let Joe Buck call that play."

With Collinsworth laughing, Buck took a straightforward approach: "Freddie Mitchell ends up catching the laser line drive throw from Donovan McNabb. And Freddie Mitchell, I guess, in essence did the reverse Moss from a week ago."

But the act wasn't shown again; the replay ended before the antics began. That was the case a week earlier after Buck said, "That is a disgusting act by Randy Moss. I think it's unfortunate that we had that on our air live. That is disgusting by Randy Moss."

Fox Sports vice president of communications Dan Bell said Sunday that there was no edict issued about when to withhold replays of potentially objectionable acts.

"It's an understanding in the (production) truck of what's tasteful, what's not," he said. "We're not the moral police here. But we didn't think there was a need to replay it. It wasn't like there was an alert with red lights going off (to pull the plug). Showing it again was something that didn't need to be done."

Buck said the crew knew of Mitchell's plans ahead of time, but added he knew of no directive not to replay the act.

"That's the first thing they told me when I got there, that he was going to do the reverse Randy Moss if he scored," Buck said Sunday night. "So I was prepared. He just was kind of making light of the whole situation, which in the end I think is the best thing for everybody. I think we should move on."

Vikings owner Red McCombs had asked Fox officials last week to remove Buck from Sunday's telecast. But Fox didn't make a change, and Buck said he had no problems dealing with the Vikings.

"The Vikings were great," Buck said. "(Coach) Mike Tice was fantastic. We had our meetings, and everything went along as scheduled."

One of Buck's more outspoken critics has been Woody Paige, a columnist for the Denver Post and an ESPN commentator.

"I called Buck a hypocrite for hyperventilating and terming Moss' act last week disgusting because Buck does beer commercials with 'Leon,' an egocentric pro athlete," Paige wrote. "Buck has replied with: 'They call me a hypocrite, yet every sports page where these columns are found are paid for by ads for strip clubs and gambling hotlines. There's hypocrisy everywhere you look."

Paige concluded: "Maybe I should go to Philadelphia and rearrange Joe Buck's mouth."

But there was no encounter, and Fox's Bell shot back at Paige's final comment.

"This certainly falls in the category of, 'Everybody has the right to their opinion, no matter how asinine it is,"' Bell said. "And this certainly is THE most asinine opinion I've heard in my entire life."

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