Policy

NHL: Exempt Us from TV-Violence Regs

10/15/2004 9:50 AM Eastern

The locked-out National Hockey League, which sees its players routinely drop their gloves and leave blood and teeth on the ice, said televised hockey games should be excluded from any TV-violence regulations under consideration at the Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC is studying TV violence at the request of members of Congress, who are concerned about the impact on children.

The agency floated a proposal that would ban violent programming between 6 a.m.-10 p.m. on both cable and over-the-air television -- the same hours when indecent content is banned on radio and TV, but not cable and satellite.

“The NHL feels that it is improper to even consider whether a sport like hockey would fall into any definition of televised `violence,’” NHL counsel Philip Hochberg wrote the FCC Friday.

Hochberg said hockey was different, for example, from pro wrestling and boxing in that hockey was not an “artificial” event that centered on violence. He added that when violence occurs in a hockey game in violation of the rules, players are sent to the penalty box or worse.

“Researchers have noted that when violent behavior is shown to be punished, it is less likely to be imitated than when it is rewarded,” Hochberg wrote.

The NHL also warned the FCC that attempting to define TV violence was problematic and efforts to regulate content to promote “good” programming would encounter First Amendment problems in court.

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