Yes I know that a flagrant foul is a sports term and lucky for me we discussed AP Style for sports in lab recently. But for this blog I wish to discuss it in terms of foul language.
A flagrant foul is defined as “unnecessary and excessive” contact with a player whether the ball is “dead or alive” according to nba.com
I think this applies rather fittingly to the use of foul language, which is at best unnecessary and excessive. We discussed profanity in Monday’s lecture and the class was split over decisions to use such words. I think the use of profanity and/or foul language should never be permitted. I think it does nothing to further a paper’s reputation and ultimately hurts it. I have never used such language in the stacks of articles I have written and I feel really good about that.
Newspapers aren’t rated like movies, which tell the viewer what they are getting into. There’s no warning on the top of the front page that says “Caution: Reader discretion is advised.” Personally I am offended by the use of foul language and I don’t make a practice of using it myself, which I have seen evoke change in the speech of those around me. If foul language were necessary there wouldn’t be a choice to use it and there is. I think newspapers should exercise the greatest respect to their readers by watching their p’s and q’s.