Language Policy on the Football field
Harold F. Schiffman
haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Mon Feb 28 17:27:41 UTC 2005
It's much better to swear off cursing
BY TOM ROCK
February 27, 2005
Experts agree profanity by itself does not constitute verbal abuse, but
foul language can be a red flag some feel has no place in sports. In
December, longtime Lindenhurst High School boys basketball coach John
Albano was suspended for the season for using bad language that was
overheard by administrators during a preseason scrimmage.
"We don't tolerate verbal abuse, and when we have it we take care of it,"
Lindenhurst athletic director Cheryl Clifton said. "The use of profanity,
I don't think it's considered abuse as much as it is inappropriate use of
language. We're here in an educational setting and that has to come
first." One Nassau County coach said he used to fine players 25 cents each
time they cursed on the field, but he soon found that ineffective because
the parents were the ones putting the quarters in the jar. Now he makes
players run for naughty words.
Three years ago Vanderbilt University football coach Bobby Johnson
implemented a no-swearing policy for his team that Johnson said covered
"all those major cuss words." Such rules, Johnson has said, instill
self-discipline and turn players into gentlemen. Notre Dame and Stanford
also have no-cursing policies for their football programs. Wantagh High
School football and baseball coach Keith Sachs said he found he had to
eliminate bad words from his lifestyle or they slipped into his speech
during practices and games. "You can't be watching yourself for two hours
a day, trying not to curse for two hours a day," he said. "You have to
make changes in your entire attitude, in your entire life."
Sachs noted that words are spoken on television, in movies and in music
that might not be tolerated if used by a coach or educator. "What's
acceptable in the regular world is not always going to be acceptable
around kids," he said. "It's funny, but as society gets looser, the rules
Copyright 2005, Newsday, Inc.
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