Fri, Nov 19, 2004 - Page 22 News List

NFL up in arms over saucy skit on TV before game


National Football League officials, already smarting over the Janet Jackson breast-baring "wardrobe malfunction" at the Super Bowl, are upset over a racy pre-game television skit that aired on Monday.

US television network ABC apologized on Tuesday for a suggestive pre-game segment in which Philadelphia receiver Terrell Owens was seduced by Nicolette Sheridan, an actress on ABC's new US hit series Desperate Housewives.

"We have heard from many of our viewers about last night's opening segment and we agree that the placement was inappropriate," the network said in a statement. "We apologize."

The scene shown before Philadelphia's 49-21 rout of Dallas shows Owens, in uniform, rebuffing locker room advances by Sheridan, clad only in a towel.

She drops the towel and Owens says, "Aw hell, the team is going to have to win this one without me."

While there was no partial nudity, unlike Jackson's Super Bowl half-time fiasco last February, the racy tone was too much for the NFL, league spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement.

"ABC's opening was inappropriate and unsuitable for our Monday Night Football aud-ience," the statement said. "While ABC may have gained attention for one of its other shows, the NFL and its fans lost."

Owens told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the controversy was much ado about nothing.

"This is the same kind of stuff we see on soap operas every single day," he said. "They sell products like milk with this kind of stuff ... I really don't understand why this whole situation is being made into such a big problem."

The Eagles were unhappy at Owens being part of the act.

"It is normal for teams to cooperate with ABC in the development of an opening for its broadcast," an Eagles team statement said.

"After seeing the final piece, we wish it hadn't aired," he said.

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