The FCC won’t sanction broadcast outlets that aired an f-word blurted out by Red Sox star David Ortiz on Saturday.
In a rare exception to its rules regarding the broadcasting of profanity over the licensed airwaves it oversees, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission said he’s letting the incident slide because Ortiz — known as “Big Papi” — used the word in remarks the slugger made about Boston and the city’s forbearance in the wake of the Boston Marathon terrorist bombing.
The chairman, Julius Genachowski, announced his decision on Twitter. “David Ortiz spoke from the heart at today’s Red Sox game,” Genachowski wrote. “I stand with Big Papi and the people of Boston.”
The incident happened before the Red Sox played the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park in a game that was telecast on the Major League Baseball Network and New England Sports Network (cable channels not under the purview of the FCC) and broadcast on two Boston radio stations, which are subject to FCC oversight.
In a ceremony before the game, Ortiz addressed the crowd, first thanking state and city officials for all their work during the past week. He then declared, “This is our f—ing city! And nobody’s going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong.”
To us, Genachowski’s Tweet seemed preemptive, since there has been no word on anyone lodging a complaint to the FCC about the f-word broadcast. Generally speaking, the FCC doesn’t act on such things until it has received complaints from the public. The chairman’s Tweet seems to mean that, if and when such complaints come into the FCC’s offices in Washington, the commission has no plans to act on them — giving Big Papi and the radio stations a pass on this one.