Empty NRL stadiums to expose swearing players


Empty NRL stadiums to expose swearing players

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While the NRL's grappling with a bevy of issues regarding their position on the impact of the coronavirus, broadcasters are facing a harsh truth with the absence of crowd noise – swearing players.

Rugby league players, like most other athletes across different sports, often express themselves with words of the four-letter variety in the heat of battle. The only thing saving grace pre-pandemic was the crowd noise, which now isn't a factor due to the decision to play in empty stadiums.

"It's something we'll definitely monitor as we go and we probably need to ask viewers to be patient with it,'' Nine's head of rugby league Simon Fordham told The Sydney Morning Herald.

"Obviously the restrictions around swearing are a lot firmer on free-to-air TV than they are on subscription TV, so it is something we need to monitor.

"At the same time, one positive is we'll pick up a lot more audio around the impact and physicality of the game.

"We'll do our best to shield the public from any profanities on the field. It's impossible to anticipate when there will be swearing. Sometimes they sneak through, and it's highly likely we'll hear a bit more of this across the coming weeks should rugby league continue with no fans.''

Fox Sports' head of television Steve Crawley said: "We'll be very aware of it. We know there will be some big hits and when you get hurt most people won't turn around say, 'Oh my God'.

"The reality is we can fade the sound up and down. What we're looking forward to is hearing the thwack of the tackles and the halfbacks calling the shots.''

Sharks skipper Wade Graham was unsure how the players would respond to each other during his side's clash against Melbourne, with both sides involved in plenty of heated clashes in the past.

"I don't know if there will be more chat, less chat … it might be more relaxed because you don't have spectators getting stuck into you,'' Graham said.

"It will be interesting to see. Will Chambers isn't there [at Melbourne] anymore, so the chat will be a lot quieter.''

The report claims one high-profile player was mic'd up during coverage of the Nines tournament, but Fox Sports couldn't air any of it because it was littered with too many expletives.

Audio engineers will have another job on their list to turn down the volume if there's an obvious moment where players could lose their temper.

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