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What we can learn from an NFL that looks down on swearing
No Caption - photo by Herb Scribner
Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll wants to take the F-words and bad manners out of football.

Ken Belson of The New York Times wrote this weekend about how Carroll has led the former Super Bowl champions with a new philosophy predicated on New Age spirituality where players are encouraged to be mindful of their surroundings, teammates and opponents.

All-Star tight end Jimmy Graham was taken back by Carrolls approach when he joined the Seahawks this summer, Belson wrote.

Football has an old-school mentality: Were going to grind you into the ground, were going to make men out of boys, and when you do something bad, were going to demean you, Graham told The Times. But here, they feel like you guys are already men and were going to treat you like men. Its literally all positive reinforcement.

Instead of encouraging players to do better through cusses, swears and insults, the teams staff remains supportive and nurturing towards its players, the Times reported.

The Seahawks who dropped last years Super Bowl in the closing minutes, falling to the New England Patriots, 28-24 hope to return to the championship game using this philosophy, Benson wrote.

We have a philosophy and we believe in it, and because circumstances and issues arise, winning championships and maybe not winning championships, that doesnt affect what we believe in and work for, Carroll told The Times. Hopefully the philosophy helps guide you through those times.

Carrolls strategy comes at a time when profanity is almost commonplace in the United States. Its become so common, in fact, that young people will drop F-bombs and cuss words even in formal settings or among respected peers and elders, like their professors, our own Mark Kellner reported in 2014.

"Profanity is something that has become so widespread in its acceptance that it doesn't carry the weight that it did 20 or 30 years ago," Wendy Patrick, a prosecutor and professor, told Kellner.

People also swear often at work, on the campaign trail and in the movies. In fact, as our Chandra Johnson wrote earlier this year, profanity has increased among films and TV shows with the rise of streaming networks like Netflix, where FCC guidelines dont apply, Johnson reported.

Profanity has gained even more popularity when you consider its traditional meaning, Johnson reported. Experts often remind people that the true meaning of profanity revolves around using Gods name in vein. So when you factor in how often TV and movie character utter his name, profanity's reach has increased exponentially, Johnson wrote.

Swear words have increased in the media because theyve become the equivalent of breathing a sigh of relief, Swedens Sdertrn University professor Kristy Beers Fgersten told Johnson. Theyre used to show emotion on screen, which people take and use in their daily lives, she said.

But not all those who hear cusses are prone to use them. Some, especially believers who follow the third commandment, will use alternate words to avoid profanity, Johnson wrote.

Theres a long history of euphemistic expressions invented for reasons of avoiding explicitly saying Gods name. We have gosh, for example, Beers Fgersten told Johnson. Swear words have religious roots, and there are alternative words we use to avoid saying religious words.

Using alternate words is just one tip parents can offer their child to avoid swearing. For parents, talking to a child about swearing can be difficult, especially when a child feels pressure from friends to start using cuss words or to embrace taboo behavior, according to Common Sense Media.

Parents may want to expand their own vocabulary so they can offer their child alternative words to cussing, and it may also be good practice for parents to limit their childs exposure to TV shows and movies with profanity, according to Common Sense Media.

But dont go throwing out your copy of Friends just yet. Common Sense Media suggest parents use TV shows and films with cuss words to show poor examples of word use, allowing them to teach lessons to children about alternative routes those characters could have taken.

Point out when TV characters call each other names, and ask kids how they could have handled the situation differently, Common Sense media reported.
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