Study: Violence, sex permeates NFL ads

Updated: January 29, 2009, 2:53 AM ET
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- Half of the commercial breaks during NFL telecasts show at least one advertisement featuring sex, drugs or alcohol, according to a study by a nationwide nonprofit group.

Common Sense Media, which provides ratings and reviews of TV shows, movies and video games to parents, released the results Thursday. CSM said its staff watched 50 NFL games this season and logged more than 5,000 commercials.

Among its findings:

- 40 percent of games showed ads for erectile dysfunction drugs.

- 46.5 percent of the sexual or violent advertisements were promotions by the broadcast networks for their own programs.

- Almost 500 of the ads showed an increased form of violence, including murders, explosions and gunfights.

"Without a doubt, this issue is brought up by our members more than any other," said James Steyer, founder and CEO of San Francisco-based CSM. "When I go speak to groups, invariably someone will ask me why no one is doing anything about this.

"We don't object that they can advertise their products. It's OK on the Howard Stern show at 2 a.m.," he said. "But here on the West Coast, you sit down with your kids to watch a football game on Sunday at 10 a.m. and ka-boom, they hit you right between the eyes. By 10:07, your 5-year-old is asking what erectile dysfunction means."

Steyer, who also teaches law at Stanford, said he spoke to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last fall about the issue.

"We're starting with the NFL but trust me, we'll ask our friends at the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission and in Congress to look at the other leagues if they don't clean up their act," Steyer said.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press