With all the insanity going on around the World Cup at the moment, I guess it's only fair that ESPN gets a little taste of it, too. On its "World Cup Live" show Sunday morning, a telephone interview with French journalist Erik Bielderman about the events that led to French striker Nicolas Anelka being sent home from the tournament got a bit more vibrant than it expected. Bielderman displayed his commitment to accurate reporting and refused to censor himself as he offered Anelka's quote to manager Raymond Domenech during halftime of France's 2-0 loss to Mexico, saying:
"...the answer from the player was, 'Go to, go to [expletive] yourself, and, a, you son of a [expletive].'"
Granted, Mr. Bielderman probably just didn't know that you can't say awkwardly translated profanities on an American television station owned by Disney, even in the context of reporting a news story. But still — this was live TV and letting the occasional naughty words escape onto the airwaves is part of the curiosity (and sometimes the only curiosity). Later in the program, ESPN's Bob Ley apologized to any viewers who may have felt sullied by the slip up, and reasoned that his guest was just relaying a direct quote. So that was that.
But the people at ESPN apparently forgot that the show would be rerun on ESPN2 immediately after the live broadcast because the sweary quote was once again aired in all its unbleeped glory. Of course, so did Bob Ley's subsequent apology and attempt at rationalizing its utterance.
Whether the network's bleeper was simply asleep at his desk or it simply didn't care enough to edit the rerun, I think it's clear that this World Cup is being presented raw and uncut.
- Nicolas Anelka