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FCC Finds "Monday Night Football" Not Indecent

On Monday, The FCC today issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order denying complaints alleging that affiliates of the ABC Television Network aired indecent material during a November 15, 2004 segment that introduced ABC’s “Monday Night Football” telecast. The segment featured a locker room encounter between Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens and actress Nicollette Sheridan from ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” program.

During the scene, Sheridan and Owens, who is fully suited for the game, are alone in the Eagles’ locker room. Sheridan, wearing only a towel, seeks to seduce Owens. After he rebuffs her advances, telling her that the game is about to start and that his team needs him, she drops her towel. The camera shows her from the back, nude from the waist up. The viewer cannot see her body below the waist. He responds, “Aw, hell, the team’s going to have to win without me” and she then leaps into his arms. The scene concludes with two other characters from “Desperate Housewives” watching the locker room encounter on their television, who remark how “desperate” Sheridan appears and then change the channel to the game, repeating the traditional "Monday Night Football" introduction, “Are you ready for some football?!” The game broadcast then commences.

Following ABC’s broadcast, the Commission received many complaints alleging that the “Monday Night Football” scene contained indecent material. The Commission subsequently reviewed a videotape of the broadcast.