Expletives in sports are common. Expletives on SportsCenter are not. But when former New York Mets star Lenny Dykstra is near a mic, it’s fair to expect some profanities to be dropped.
Wednesday night, SportsCenter anchor Kevin Negandhi quickly apologized after ESPN let an f-bomb from the brazen centerfielder slip. The expletive was made during a promo for the network’s documentary on the 1986 Mets, Once Upon a Time in Queens.
During the clip, which aired about 15 minutes before the documentary began on ESPN, Dykstra was recalling a play from the club’s World Series run, when he expectedly said “f*ck.” Oops.
“We apologize for the language that was used. You will see that during the broadcast of the piece, but not normally on SportsCenter,” Negandhi quickly said after the promo ran, before casually jumping into a Mets highlight with co-anchor Elle Duncan.
For decades, swear words on ESPN in general were prohibited, but the Disney-owned sports network has made some exceptions, starting with last year’s Chicago Bulls documentary The Last Dance. The network aired an uncensored version with f-bombs and all on ESPN, while viewers who wanted bleeped curse words could watch on ESPN2.
The swearing has continued with ESPN’s 30 for 30 on the Mets. Although Dykstra was almost a guarantee to drop an f-bomb during the doc, he’s not alone, with Sid Fernandez and the ’86 Mets equipment manager among the others to make profane contributions.
Being that Dykstra’s profane language was going to air later that night on ESPN anyway, it wasn’t that big of a deal. But letting the f-bomb slip on SportsCenter seems much more like a gaffe than a planned part of the promo. The clip was obviously edited for time to air as a promo during SportsCenter, but someone made either an executive or errant decision to leave “f*ck” in there.
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