A Question of Ethics

I am not a Philadelphia Phillies fan.

I do not have kids.

I was happy when they won the World Series.

I am not an uptight, crotchety extremist.

I enjoy sprinkling my vocabulary with well placed curse words for emphasis and comedy. 

But according to public sentiment, I am in the minority of people who were offended when All-Star fan favorite Chase Utley shouted “World f***ing champions!” during the Phillies parade in front of thousands and thousands of fans over the loud speakers.  He was drunk and in the moment.  But that doesn’t pardon his reckless, barbaric now-popular catchphrase in my eyes.  Childrens were there–lots of them.  And Utley has never apologized for being a foulmouthed drunkard who should have know better.  None of the other Phillies cursed when they were at the podium. 

He is a HIGHLY paid role model in a town that adores every gritty at-bat he battles through.  He was over the line, but Philadelphians, hungry to celebrate anything, for the most part thought it was humorous, or worse, acceptable given the circumstance.

Fine.

But here’s the ripple effect: because Utley refused to apologize, and because Philadelphians are excited about rooting for a World Champion team going into the 2009 season, I’ve seen more and more people wearing shirts with the graphic shown above.  The message is that it’s okay to use profane language in public…because the Phillies won!   Because Chase Utley, our hero, said it outloud!  Because there was no fallout, it gives us permission to do the same!

Coming back from lunch, I saw a 13 year old kid walking in broad daylight with a sweatshirt bearing Utley’s infamous credo.  He was not tailgating nor wearing a baseball glove heading to practice.  In other words, he was not in a sports setting of any kind–just walking along the warm streets of Roxborough on a sunny, breezy day.  He wasn’t being crass or rude to people on the street.  But his sweatshirt is/was still HIGHLY offensive to regular people.  Not everyone in Philadelphia is a Phillies fan.  But everyone should be able to agree that there is a time and a place for cursing up a storm (poker night, Chris Rock stand-up specials, anytime Kurupt raps). 

Disgustingly raunchy homemade shirts are a part of sports.  But it’s usually contained to maybe 20 folks who press up a controversial image or saying that is relevant to a particular player, event, or rivalry. You can buy them from guys selling these bootlegged tees outside the stadium on game night for $10.   My (least) favorite was seen in abundance whenever the Eagles played the Cowboys the past three years: “Cowboys Suck, T.O. Swallows.” 

This isn’t a Philadelphia issue: I’ve seen other cities with fans wearing flippant homemade shirts with the F word sprinkled all over it, waving signs with disparaging remarks to opponents, etc.  But I don’t live in those cities, so my question to you Philadelphians and sports fans who live out of the 215 is:

Does being a hardcore sports fan make it okay to promote profanity to the rest of the public?

Are you okay with people using foul language around you or your family as long as it’s in a sports-related setting (watching the game at home, tailgating, hanging at a sports bar)?

Are you comfortable bypassing your morals and ethics, offending large groups of people in the process, months after yout team has won a title ?

You let me know, folks.  I appreciate any feedback on this issue.

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11 thoughts on “A Question of Ethics

  1. Worl Phuckin Champs!!!! those words summed it up perfect, as a Philly fan its frustrating at times,hell,all the time, so when we get 1 we are sure in hell gone let u know!!!

  2. As surprising as it may be to some Lady Killer groupies, I am uncomfortable any time any person wears ANY shirt emblazoned with f-words or even those that are less offensive. Unless you know you will be among like-minded folks and ONLY those folks, then do your dirt as you see fit. But what are the chances of THAT?

    Maybe I am discounting friendships with people who are otherwise awesome, but, more often than not, I am straight up judging them.

  3. Kane:

    That’s the thing: I’m not saying don’t be excited and share your joy. But is it fair to walk around with profanity on your clothes in regular daily life because your team won last October? I expect to see that shirt when I go to a Phillies game, not when I’m walking out of a diner at 1pm on a Friday afternoon in Roxborough, you know what I mean?

  4. I think that using foul language in public or wearing articles of clothing which contain foul language is fine. I LOVE foul language. Seriously. While I appreciate your view, I have to disagree. If you don’t like it, turn away. You do have that option. I’m not sure how one can be offended with words anyway, regardless if they are “foul” or not. Have you seen “FUCK” the documentary? If not, you should check it out. I’m actually really surprised that you were offended by foul language and for the reasons you provided. I totally get it, I just don’t agree with it. My kids have heard me use every variation of every curse word just short of c*nt (censored for sensitive eyes) and the do not use the language. (ok, my son said shit once but he’s 3 and repeats everything so I do monitor to an extent what I say in his presence) Now, I don’t know what my daughter says to her peers and teachers when at school or at a friends house, but I do know that I’ve never received a complaint about her going around saying “Damn, your beach time Barbie is one sexy motherfuckin bitch” or “Gym class sucks ass”. The point is, I teach my children right from wrong and let them know that what I do and what other adults do isn’t always the right thing or the appropriate thing.

    ps: being the avid phillies fan that i am, it may come as a surprise to you that i dont have one of the above t-shirts, but i sure do use the phrase “World Phucking Champions”. (i prefer “Phucking” with an “F” tho)

  5. Ok so here’s my opinion… As far as the day of the parade goes I was in total shock when Utley spoke his words but I smiled as he said them. While he was a little intoxicated, he was excited and sometimes people curse when they get hype. As far as children being there, any parent should know going into a sporting event that their kid is going to hear all kinds of vulgar language regardless of who it comes from and it is their responsibility to let their kid know that it is not acceptable for them repeat everything they hear. As for the TV broadcasting, I blame the television network for not having the event on delay like they do with any other live event so they can censor something because you never know what will happen during a live broadcasting.

    When it comes to these shirts I do agree with you about wearing them out in public. Sure wearing it to a couple games or something is fine there will be plenty of other people wearing it too, but out in an every day setting I don’t think it’s appropriate. I am also not a huge fan of vulgar language on t shirts any way, I think they are tasteless and not really all that funny.

  6. $bags:

    I didn’t have the choice to “turn the other way”–it’s a kid walking the street with a bright red hoodie in broad day light, the same way Phillies fans didn’t have a chance to turn away when Utley blurted out the almighty F bomb. You do your job as a parent, and very well at that. So why can’t Utley do his job as a role model speaking to almost a hundred THOUSAND people?

    Kim:

    You really lost me, dear lol.

    So it’s not Utley’s fault he cursed in front of kids–he was excited. It’s the parents fault for not preparing the kids for being cursed at because they were going to a sports-related event? And once again it’s not Utley’s fault for being totally inappropriate, it’s the TV networks fault for not expecting the most popular, quiet guy on the team to act like 2 Live Crew? You would expect Brett Myers with his history to act like a frat boy douche bag.

    Part 2 of your argument is that you’re fine with Utley cursing, but that profanity on clothing offends you. That’s a bit inconsistent, considering you’re casting no blame whatsoever on Utley.

    I think overall if a guy like TO or Allen Iverson or Charles Barkley would’ve said that phrase in that situation, people would be having a seizure. But because Utley is good looking, aloof, and seen as a great competitor and teammate he gets a pass.

  7. Thanks, RJB! As for what Utley said and didn’t say (fuck and apologize, lol), I will say that, though excited, he could have used better judgment. Okay, he didn’t. I, personally enjoyed it, but, being who he is, he really should have issued a formal apology, genuine or not. My unconformable ways can only go so far. The same reason that I don’t shoot people when they annoy me is the same reason I don’t scream “Fuck me, Jesus!” in church. I still think it stems from personal judgment calls which will always fall back on the way you were raised. If you’re instilled with good values from the door, you’ll always know what’s appropriate and when, even if you extend the boundaries sometimes.

    As for young boys hoody, okay, you peeped it. The second that you caught an inking of the 5th letter on it you literally could have shifted your view to a piece of litter in the street to avoid being offended. I do feel you though, just gotta state my point 😉

  8. I never said he shouldn’t of apologized, because I think that he should have due to the amount of people who were offended. It really doesn’t bother me that he did it ’cause dude is only human, he expressed himself the way most people would when they win something they are going after for so long. I don’t really care if he’s a role model, people in general get lost in the moment, they do and say things all the time that they shouldn’t because at the end of the day they are just people. I really didn’t elaborate on the fact that it was Utley too much cause that wasn’t the question at hand and in my opinion it shouldn’t matter if it was Utley, the quiet one or Myers the “frat boy douche bag” as you say, because regardless of who it was it happened and it really wasn’t as bad as everyone made it out to be.

    And yes i do think parents should prepare their kids going into sporting events cause people curse up a storm, but i don’t BLAME parents. And I do think that the broadcasting company should have had it on delay because it WAS a live event, ALL live events should be delayed because people are unpredictable, but I don’t BLAME them. I don’t blame anyone. I just don’t think they should of been as offended or surprised as they were.

    And no i don’t like clothing with profanity on it. It’s not inconsistent it’s a matter of taste and opinion. Most cursing is done spontaneously and comes from a very strong feeling and emotion you are having at that very moment but wearing clothing that has it on there is thought out and premeditated. So in my opinion i find it tasteless to wear things of that nature on a daily basis. And I don’t find humor in it like other people do.

  9. Why in hell would this be Chase Utley’s fault? Come on, Z, people have been foul and profane in public in Philly for as long as I can remember and I’m waaaaay older than you (watch it). To point to that moment as the start of some vulgarity ripple throughout the city is kind of grasping for straws, isn’t it? Granted, there were kids in the crowd and Utley should have chosen another way to express himself…..but the uproar and the following controversy created that t-shirt you saw, not Chase Utley. As you and I are most certainly aware of, people in Philly are opportunists and they saw Chase’s declaration as a chance to come up…..no more or no less….you can say that the shirts born from this controversy are offensive and that would be fine, I might even agree with you….but don’t lay blame on Utley, he just expressed a sentiment that almost everyone in that crowd was feeling, but didn’t say.

  10. D:

    Thanks for chiming in. You bring up some valid points.

    I will continue to blame Utley because since he’s refused to apologize and hasn’t been fined/disciplined by the team, it’s open the flood gates for these profane t-shirts. The unspoken message received by the Philly fans is that it’s ok to be vulgar in public if you win a title because the guy who said it received no reprocussions.

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