For better or worse, that bizarre term is one that needs no introduction. It goes hand-in-hand with “wardrobe malfunction” as the lasting memory from what was truly a Super Bowl classic between the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers in 2004.
Alas, America’s youth were exposed ever so briefly to Janet Jackson’s right breast in a moment that launched years of lawsuits, a $550,000 fine that was eventually struck down in federal court and overshadowed the Patriots’ second Super Bowl win.
Now, after 14 years in NFL exile, the man who exposed Jackson’s nipple to the world has been invited back to perform the Super Bowl halftime show on Sunday.
Brace yourselves, people. Justin Timberlake will be on your television screen.
Timberlake’s return to the Super Bowl stage has prompted plenty of reflection on one of America’s seminal and most ridiculous pop culture moments. It has also caught the attention of the Parents Television Council, which penned a lengthy letter Tuesday appealing to Timberlake to keep things clean in Minneapolis.
For reference, the PTC is the pro-censorship group that helped lead the letter-writing campaign to the FCC in 2004 over Nipplegate and generated an overwhelming majority of complaints to the FCC in the early 2000s in an attempt to inflict its values on the rest of the United States.
Here’s a portion of their letter, which can be read in full here.
As we approach this Sunday’s Super Bowl LII and its halftime show during which you’ll be performing, we ask you to keep the halftime show friendly and safe for the children watching, and who may be hoping to emulate you one day. … Our children are confronted with enough harmful and explicit content in today’s entertainment media – content that sexualizes our daughters; graphic violence that connotes acceptance as an answer to life’s conflicts; glamorization of underage drinking and drug use; normalization of children using harsh profanity; and a litany of other messaging that runs counter to the values most parents work to instill in their kids. The Super Bowl, and particularly its halftime show, should be the hallmark of entertainment that’s both appealing and a safe place for the entire family.
Also, no nipples. Lady nipples at least. Guys, you’re OK. Flaunt what you’ve got.
In short, the PTC is warning Timberlake that if he’s thinking of any sort of rehash of his infamous 2004 performance, there will be consequences.
Never mind that the same children the PTC are worried about suffering emotional and mental trauma will have just spent 30 minutes of football time watching modern-day gladiators inflict violence upon one another that will ultimately and assuredly lead to brain damage and actual mental and emotional suffering upon its participants.
Just don’t let those kids see a woman’s nipple.
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Jason Owens is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow on Twitter