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VOICES / A FORUM FOR COMMUNITY ISSUES | Youth Platform

Why Teens Curse at Games

March 11, 2000

There have been recent news accounts of area college students openly using profanity while watching sporting events. HELEN KIM spoke with local college students about the reasons behind their actions.

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DI'ANGELO MERINI

21, CSUN senior

I attend sporting events--usually football, basketball or baseball games--at my school at least twice a month. I've heard and used profanity at those games. There are people around me who use foul language during the games also; profanity at sporting events in my school is fairly common.

A few months ago during a basketball game, a couple of students I was sitting with began shouting [obscenities]. I also got up and yelled [obscenities]. It was a lot of fun. The opposing team didn't seem to like being put down by us. They reacted by mad-dogging (staring menacingly at) us. They also cussed back and gave us the finger. That's usual; there are a lot of people who cuss throughout the game.

I've heard stories about cheerleaders who cuss during a game. Recently, a couple of cheerleaders saw the opposing team losing and they called them a "bunch of [profanity] losers."

People in the stands, other than students, also cuss. Profanity is normal. I consider foul language to be something that debases my self-image. But I still use it anyway out of habit.

People shouldn't cuss in front of little kids because whatever we do is pretty much what they are going to do and say. School officials have noticed the use of profanity at these sporting events but they haven't taken any actions. As young adults, we are responsible for our own actions.

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PETE JEZIOREK

18, UCLA freshman

Whenever UCLA turns the game around, students start chanting profanities. People in the stands other than the students also cuss. The students' decision to use profanity during a sporting event is purely voluntary. I also participate in the yelling of profanity at events. It's fun.

I love cussing during a college sports game. In high school, I couldn't do anything during a game except clap. But then when I got to college, I really started to feel like a part of the crowd. I really got into it. It's not peer pressure to cuss during a sports event.

Honestly, I think this is how a sports game should be--cutthroat competitive. And I think that using profanity when watching a sports game demonstrates how cutthroat the sport is.

It probably isn't appropriate to cuss at a sporting event because there are little kids there. But I don't feel bad. I've never seen a student who was offended by the profanity. People at my college have never complained about this.

Students use foul language at sporting events because they want to encourage their team. Foul language at a game is a representation of extremely strong school spirit.

School officials know about this, but they haven't done anything about it. What can they do? Are they going to restrict 5,000 people from chanting foul language?

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PAUL SMITH

19, USC freshman

I attend many football games. Any mistake that the team makes does provoke people in the stands to use profane language. The athletes also cuss. People in the stands will say something foul and then others will pick it up. I also participate in these acts of profanity. Profanity is a part of everyday language. I wonder why people see profanity as such a foul part of language. Profanity merely puts emphasis on certain things.

Profanity dominates American culture.

Besides directing foul language toward the opposing school during a game, USC students also hang little bears in effigy and sing "UCLA sucks!" There even sell T-shirts that use profanity.

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STEVE WAT

19, UCLA freshman

It's tradition that whenever USC comes around, we direct foul language toward them during a game. The opposing school reacts to this by doing the same thing back. Most people today don't really consider cussing to be something extremely immoral. I think profanity is a normal form of expression. I know some people that don't like it but there are also many people who don't mind.

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