The NFL Network booted Kevin Hart from the post-game interview he crashed yesterday. Hart walked on the set flapping his wings. He congratulated Fletcher Cox on the Eagles’ historic win. Then he stole the show.
Deion Sanders eventually pushed Kevin Hart off the set saying, “he’s got to go!”
In the video, Hart slurs his speech and admits he’s been drinking. He’s kind of charming about it though, so…
The FCC prohibits on-air swearing.
The FCC prohibits television, satellite, and radio stations from airing certain content. Federal law defines that content as “obscene, indecent and profane.” But who the heck even knows what that means.
In a 1964 Supreme Court case, Justice Steward wrote, “I know it when I see it!” That case discussed obscenity and pornography. It’s holding informs FCC regulations to this day.
George Carlin famously challenged the idea of banning words in his skit “Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television.” This skit was controversial when he performed it in 1972. It was so controversial, in fact, that Carlin was arrested for performing it. Carlin’s arrest eventually led to a Supreme Court case.
Regulations prohibiting obscene and profane content, however, do not apply to subscription channels. That’s why HBO can use the F-bomb several times in five minutes. And, why Netflix can include sexually graphic scenes in a lot (read: a LOT) of Netflix Originals. Similarly, the regs don’t apply to the NFL Network.
The regulations have no teeth.
Even if the regs applied to the NFL Network, though, the FCC can’t issue fines for violations.
In June 2012, the Supreme Court ruled against the FCC when it tried to fine Fox and ABC. The SCOTUS (lawyer speak for the Supreme Court) found that the regulations were so vague that broadcasters couldn’t have known that they would be fined for violating them.
The Justices of the SCOTUS threw out more than $1 million in fines levied against the networks.
In a funny twist of Super Bowl fate, Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson’s nip slip performance may have contributed to the 2012 case.
The NFL Network isn’t at risk of being fined for Hart’s on-air antics. It likely kicked him off because he was annoying and stealing the show. Superbowl Sunday probably wasn’t the first time Hart has been kicked off the stage. But let’s hope it’s the last time that he tries to steal the show from the real star of the hour.