The New York Times had a pretty exciting story on its hands about a London trial featuring a expletive-laden on-field argument between soccer stars Anton Ferdinand and John Terry, but the paper's high standards turns a NSFW cluster-cuss into the most sterile argument ever. As we noted in June, The Times' editors got all bothered by a "screw you" in a story last month, neutering it into a "PG-rated expletive," just one of the more recent example of the paper's high standards for curse words.
So it's no surprise that even though the lawyers at London Magistrates' Court urged Ferdinand and Terry hold nothing back in recounting a tiff between the two (Terry is accused of racially abusing Ferdinand), The Times' Sarah Lyall was forced to:
In between gestures, the two exchanged long and abusive soliloquies, they related, repeating them for the court. As the argument on the field became more heated, Mr. Terry at one point compared Mr. Ferdinand to male genitalia, and then to female genitalia, in consecutive sentences.
Most of these constituted “handbags,” or “normal verbal exchanges between the players,” Mr. Terry told the police, according to the transcript. These types of things, the players said, include calling other players fat, or taunting them about how their mothers like to have sex with people in other cities. ...
And for lip readers, here's the video of Terry's portion of that exchange:
Taking all that into account, Lyall's euphemism-laden and utterly SFW washing of "yo' mama" jokes and jock trash talk sort of hit the same sweet spots that Jimmy Kimmel's recurring "unnecessary censorship" segments do, since Lyall's decorous linguistic fig leaves are way funnier and jarring than the actual curse words they cover up.
Go on and head over to The Times for Lyall's full SFW account.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.