Why Super Bowl halftime show was controversial

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Why Super Bowl halftime show was controversial

From Comcast SportsNet
The NFL and a major television network are apologizing for another Super Bowl halftime show. There was no wardrobe malfunction, nothing like that glimpse of Janet Jackson's nipple eight years ago that caused an uproar and a government scrutiny. Instead, it was an extended middle finger from British singer M.I.A. during Sunday night's performance of Madonna's new single, "Give Me All Your Luvin.'" In front of some 110 million viewers on NBC and uncounted others online, she flipped the bird and appeared to sing, "I don't give a (expletive)" at one point, though it was hard to hear her clearly. The NFL and NBC wasted little time in responding. "The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing and we apologize to our fans," said Brian McCarthy, spokesman for the NFL, which produced Madonna's halftime show. The risque moment came during the biggest TV event of the year. The screen briefly went blurred after M.I.A.'s gesture in what was a late attempt -- by less than a second -- to cut out the camera shot. "The NFL hired the talent and produced the halftime show," NBC spokesman Christopher McCloskey said. "Our system was late to obscure the inappropriate gesture and we apologize to our viewers." Jackson's infamous oops during the 2004 halftime show raised a storm of controversy and put CBS in hot water with the Federal Communications Commission amid questions about the responsibility of TV networks to police their airwaves. Justin Timberlake ripped off Jackson's bustier, exposing her breast for nine-sixteenths of a second, a moment for which CBS was fined 550,000 by the FCC. The network challenged the fine and last fall, a federal appeals court ruled against the FCC despite an order from the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case. The three-judge panel reviewed three decades of FCC rulings and concluded the agency was changing its policy, without warning, by fining CBS for fleeting nudity. This year's game, in which the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots 21-17, is expected to challenge last year's record of being the most-watched U.S. TV event ever. M.I.A. is best known for her 2007 hit "Paper Planes," a Grammy nominee for record of the year that memorably features a sample of the Clash song, "Straight to Hell." It was featured on the soundtrack to the movie "Slumdog Millionaire." After the incident, McCarthy said that M.I.A. had not done anything similar during rehearsals and the league had no reason to believe she would pull something like that during the actual show. Madonna had admittedly been nervous about her performance, hoping to position herself as the queen of a new generation of pop stars with an opulent show and a sharp performance that mixed her new release with more familiar songs. She seemed like Roman royalty when muscle-bound men carried her extravagant throne across the football field to the stage for her opening song, "Vogue." Guests Cee Lo, Nicki Minaj and dance rockers LMFAO also appeared with Madonna. The singing and dancing on "Vogue" was smartly choreographed, as Madonna moved more deliberately -- she is 53 -- but still adroitly. She briefly appeared to stumble at one point while trying to make a step on the stage set, but recovered in time. She let a tightrope walker make the more acrobatic moves during a performance of "Music." Madonna carried gold pompons for a performance of her frothy new single. Twitter was alight with questions about the vocals being lip synched or augmented by tapes, particularly during this song. The best guest was clearly Cee Lo, who joined Madonna for the final song, "Like a Prayer." They were joined by a robed chorus in the show's most soaring performance. With a puff of white smoke, Madonna disappeared down a trapdoor in the stage, and lights on the field spelled out "World Peace." The performance was also carried live on SiriusXM Radio, giving Madonna the biggest single audience of her career. For all the elaborate choreography and flashy effects, the finger incident is the more likely headline from the event. Earlier, Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert offered some pregame patriotism. Shelton and Lambert did a twangy duet on "America the Beautiful" and Clarkson, in a simple black dress, sang "The Star Spangled Banner" without a hitch after last year's performer, Christina Aguilera, flubbed a line.

CSN's Buckets List: Some weak(s) to remember

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CSN's Buckets List: Some weak(s) to remember

Each Monday through the Final Four, our own Robbie Buckets -- known in some circles as Rob Snyder, associate producer at CSN -- will take a look at the world of college basketball: Games to watch each week, players who might be on the Celtics' radar come draft time, what's going on locally . . . and, of course, power rankings (which will eventually morph into bracketology). Enjoy!

The shakeups continue! UCLA's defensive deficiencies gor the best of the Bruins at home against a newly minted Arizona lineup. West Virginia had a brutal week. Meanwhile, injury issues are piling up around the country: Creighton lost star point guard Maurice Watson for the season with a torn ACL, Indiana lost NBA prospect OG Anunoby for the season with a knee injury, and Oregon lost Dillon Brooks for the near future with a lower leg injury. The Top 15 has never looked so fragile. So let's look at each team's weaknesses this week, shall we?

1. Villanova (19-1) - The Wildcats have two major issues that could keep them from winning back-to-back titles for the first time since Florida did it in 2006-07:  1) They don't have an offensive post presence, and, more importantly, 2) they play seven-deep and are clearly getting tired at times during games.

2. Kansas (18-1) - It's no secret the Jayhawks' depth in the frontcourt is (gulp) underwhelming.  When Landen Lucas goes to the bench, Kansas' defense goes into the toilet. 

3. Gonzaga (19-0) - Hard to find a weakness with an undefeated team, but here's the problem: The 'Zags face extremely weak competition, and will continue to do so until March. Their lack of a big test for two-plus months will hurt.

4. Kentucky (17-2) - As athletic and offensively solid as Kentucky is, this is one of the worst defensive units that John Calipari has had. The 'Cats also play very uptempo, and will sure be tested in a half-court atmosphere come March.

5. Baylor (18-1) - The Bears continue to impress, but their guard play and consistency shooting the ball from deep could haunt them in March. They need guard play in the tourney.

6. Oregon (18-2) - Health. How long will Dillon Brooks be out?  His injury early in the season hurt them, and it will certainly hurt again. He's their best player. No question.

7. Florida State (18-2) - Crazy that the 'Noles are in this position and not playing close to the defensive efficiency they're used to playing. That, combined with the fact that they're playing a crazy high pace, is going to make March games feel a lot tougher.

8. Arizona (18-2) - The Wildcats are riding high after upsetting UCLA in Westwood and getting Alonzo Trier back on the same night. Chemistry is now what 'Zona will need to develop.  

9. UCLA (19-2) - The Bruins are super-talented. However, they sport the kiss-of-death weakness: High tempo combined with horrific defensive efficiency.

10. North Carolina (18-3) - UNC is like UCLA. Super-talented but with the habit of playing down to bad competition and also going through defensive lapses.

11. Creighton (18-2) - The Bluejays issue used to be defensive efficiency., which has been a problem all year. Now, however, it's the fact that Maurice Watson is done for the year. Killer injury.

12. Butler (17-3) - The Bulldogs are a solid team all around, but lately they haven't shown up at all in the first half of games and have struggled to get easy baskets. They may have peaked too early.

13. Notre Dame (17-3) - ND has very few issues and is a really solid squad.  However, defense is a problem for the Irish at times, as they rank fairly low in defensive efficiency, and their very good offense has stalled in the half-court at times.

14. West Virginia (15-4) - The Mountaineers are boom or bust on defense. Their press forces the most turnovers in the country by far, but when their press is broken, they give up a ton of points. They are also incredibly high-tempo and frantic, which leads to a high-turnover offense as well.

15. Virginia (15-3) - The 'Cavs are very good on defense, but they lack a true go-to scorer and go through waves where it seems like scoring is incredibly difficult.

LOCAL FLAVOR

Rhode Island (12-6) - The Rams hold steady with a nice win over Duquesne, but what I said last week holds true: Win the conference tournament, or else . . . 

Providence (13-8) - Nice road win over Georgetown followed by a loss at Villanova which is nothing to worry about. However, the Friars still need at least two signature wins, and those opportunities are passing them by.

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK

  • Tuesday, January 24 -- Kansas at West Virginia; Virginia at Notre Dame
  • Thursday, January 26 -- Xavier at Cincinnati
  • Saturday, January 28 -- Kansas at Kentucky
  • Sunday, January 29 -- Virginia at Villanova

POTENTIAL FUTURE CELTICS TO WATCH

Malik Monk - This kid is a bonafide scorer.  He is averaging 21.7 points in under 30 minutes per game and he's doing it in a variety of ways.  He can get to the rim, but he also shoots a lot of 3's and a lot of mid-range jumpers. Sounds like a recipe for a high-volume, low-efficiency scorer, right?  But get this: Monk is shooting 50.7 percemt from the field and 41.4 from 3-pt range. That's pretty nuts considering his shot selection.

Lauri Markkanen - This kid is about to skyrocket up draft boards.  He will absolutely pass Jonathan Isaac and will be the top big man in the 2017 draft.  He's got some Kevin Love to his game with more size.  The 7-footer is averaging 17 and 7, while shooting a crazy 52.4/50.0/83.5 split.  Stud.

Follow me on Twitter @RobbieBuckets for college hoops musings and off-the-cuff sports takes.

Alarm-puller: ‘I’m drunk. I’m stupid. I’m a Pats fan’

Alarm-puller: ‘I’m drunk. I’m stupid. I’m a Pats fan’

Intentionally or otherwise, the guy who allegedly pulled the fire alarm at the Steelers’ hotel Sunday morning may have also provided the average Bud Light-loving Bostonian a new motto. 

“I’m drunk. I’m stupid. I’m a Pats fan,” Dennis Harrison told police after he was arrested, according to the Boston Globe.  

Citing the State Police report, the Globe wrote Monday that Harrison was talked into pulling the alarm while at a party in Revere, with a friend driving the 25-year-old to the Boston Hilton Logan Airport hotel Sunday morning. 

Harrison reportedly walked up to the second floor and pulled the fire alarm before returning to the car, but his friend and the keys were gone. He was then picked up by police while walking away from the hotel. 

According to the Globe, Harrison pleaded not guilty to charges of disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace and setting off a false fire alarm Monday and was released on personal recognizance.