Integrity Matters
November 24, 2004

Battle for bottom line drives TV football opening

Question: (E-155)

Dear Jim:

Did you see the Nicollette Sheridan/Terrell Owens lead-in commercial during "Monday Night Football" last week on ABC? They were advertising ABC's hot new program "Desperate Housewives." In California, this show came on at 6 p.m., when young children could/would be watching. Are there no limits, anywhere?


As the recovering economy grinds along and demands for profits and ratings escalate, some shortsighted and greedy "deliverers of the bottom line" will compromise values, relationships or promises, justifying their actions as prudent and clever economic necessities. Our newspapers are filled with examples of rich and powerful high-level power brokers only too willing to skirt integrity issues and ignore long-standing expectations regarding propriety.

Rich purveyors of cultural mayhem operate unbridled with behaviors that subvert and bankrupt the integrity standards of society. At the same time, way too many thoughtless members of the public nod approvingly and sanction such actions, by simply doing nothing about it. This issue is not simply about the stage called "Monday Night Football."

A few questions come to mind: Who made the decision to create the "steamy" advertisement? How does this "sexual innuendo" commercial differ from others that fill the airwaves, morning till night? Who is responsible for maintaining FCC standards?

What are those standards in the first place? In this particular case, what lifestyle is celebrated and endorsed by this advertisement, by Terrell Owens, the Philadelphia Eagles organization, ABC-TV and the National Football League? When will concerned comments emerge from appropriate "watchdog" groups?

What was again lost during this pseudo-clever antic and sexually suggestive commercial was graciousness. ABC's relentless drive to attract viewers again used that old dependable magnet: sex. Are we really surprised?

Without respect and discipline -- for all members of society -- in the boardroom, courtroom, the marketing department or the family in its living room -- society suffers. Integrity still matters.

When organizations, large or small, fail to demonstrate care and concern for all stakeholders, then external forces will exert influence. When those who should be in charge abdicate social responsibility, in commercials or elsewhere, sanctions and regulations will follow, multiply, and further stifle freedoms.

We continue to remind ourselves and our readers that it should be common knowledge that free markets must regulate themselves or governments will.

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