Buttler’s Bad Words Cause A Fuss


England Cricket Player punished for use of profanity in a recent match.

Recently England Cricket player, Jos Buttler, was given a slap on the bottom for some unsavoury language. Jest aside, the International Cricket Council determined his use of profanity as obscene behaviour which is punishable by ICC rules. Now, I do not mean to impede or degrade this sport, especially after England’s great achievements recently, but do attempt to question whether this punishment may need review.  It is true of the 1950s that profanity is uncivil but is it so uncivil today? Buttler was fined 15% of his match fee and given a demerit for the use of profanity during a test match with South Africa, directed at South African player Vernon Philander. Buttler was displeased with Philander’s movement, expressing anger due to the belief Philander was attempting to disrupt a throw; Buttler was not shy about sharing his rage.

Arguments or shall we say ‘heated’ discussions are commonplace in sport. All those who have felt the emotion of sport, understand the anger of losing or feeling hard done by. The physical assertion comes with it a deterioration of logical reason and a natural assertion of emotion. It is this emotion and passion that drives us to sports, so we often understand when players get heated and argue, but should we punish profanity? The question here is not of argument, but of the use of profanity. Some language we have come to understand wrong such as racism, bigotry or sexism. Prejudicial language has come to be rejected over time, but generally, profanity is not something rejected by our culture.

In fact, as Britons, many of us embrace swearing with open arms, as if it were a loyal companion in our everyday discussions and debates. In fact, many cultures use swearing casually. Often, swearing can be used in friendly engagements as much as it is used in situations of conflict. So, is it justified that in cricket, we determine not the argument wrong, but the use of profanity? Profanity towards officials can be considered wrong, as they represent the sport. However, should we find profanity between players a part of the natural verbal jousting that comes with sport? We see confrontations of such kind between players in other sports such as basketball or football. Still, often the language is only punishable if directed at officials or is discriminatory or personal. It is understandable to punish a player for aggressive or offensive behaviour but is profanity so offensive in the modern-day? Yes, Buttler broke a rule, but is the rule necessary? This I leave to the intelligent minds of you, the readers, to decide.

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