Censors break hockey curse

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Canada's TV censors ruled that sports stars can't use the F-word on air during postgame interviews — even if they've just beaten the Russians to win the gold medal at the World Junior Hockey Championships.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council said Friday that the Sports Network, Canada's cable sports channel, was wrong to allow Canadian hockey forward Jonathan Toews to drop the F-bomb on live TV after he and his teammates earned the world junior hockey crown.

During the Jan. 5 live telecast, a pumped-up Toews told a TSN reporter that the Canadian team did a "fucking great job" beating the Russians to win its third consecutive gold medal at the championships.

The CBSC, reacting to a viewer complaint about the use of the f-word in a daytime broadcast, ruled the action breached an industry code of ethics that restricts the use of abusive language to from 9 p.m.-6 a.m., when young people are less likely to watch TV.

Previous rulings by the CBSC against the use of foul language on live TV mostly relate to utterances by triumphant musicians and actors on awards shows airing here.

The TSN case is the first instance of Canadian censors contesting foul language used on a live sporting event.

The Canadian sports channel unsuccessfully defended itself against the written complaint by indicating the hockey game aired live without tape delay. It added that it did edit out the offending language when it replayed the game that night.

The CBSC panel accepted that the Canadian hockey player was "likely genuine, spontaneous and unpremeditated."

At the same time, the Canadian TV censors said young hockey players are "role models" for young viewers, and "broadcasters must simply find a way to avoid the use of such coarse language during audiences' safe haven."
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