Common Sense Media says it has asked the commissioners of the NBA and NFL -- whose seasons are currently in full swing -- as well as top TV sports programmers to temporarily pull promos for violent video games and movies from broadcasts.
The group has periodically asked programmers not to air such promos in sports broadcasts they argue are prime family viewing time, but the latest request for a temporary standstill comes in the wake of the Newtown shootings.
"We've surfaced this issue a couple of times in the past," says Crista Sumanik, communications manager for the group. "Most recently [in 2009] we looked at the ads played in NFL games, re violence and sexual content. Our impetus this time relates to the conversation that is happening nationwide."
That conversation is about what, if any, responsibility violent media has for the societal violence that erupts in tragedies like Newtown, Aurora, Virginia Tech and Columbine.
"As you are aware, the sports and media industries have tremendous influence when it comes to the messages and images that fans -- many of whom are kids and families -- see during televised sporting events. In the context of the recent tragedy in Newtown, Conn. -- and as policymakers in Washington, D.C., decide what action needs to be taken to reduce the culture of violence in the U.S. -- Common Sense Media has called on David Stern, Roger Goodell, and the executives of Turner Sports, Fox Sports, CBS Sports, NBC Sports, and ESPN to temporarily stop airing ads for violent video games and movies during programming watched by millions of kids and their families."
An ESPN spokesperson said the company does not generally comment on advertising, but added that "we have worked with our advertisers to respond appropriately" to the events in Newtown. A CBS spokesperson had no comment. Others had not returned a request for comment at presstime.
A spokesperson for Common Sense said they had not gotten any response at presstime.