ESPN’s “nip slip” evokes Janet Jackson’s 2004 debacle

Bourbon Street


Oh the humanity! A boob – specifically a right boob – was shown on national television during ESPN’s coverage of the 2024 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. The flashing appeared in a prerecorded video as ESPN was coming back from a commercial break. The video was of people on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans – and we all know what happens on Bourbon Street!

ESPN issued a formal apology with ESPN communications director Bill Hofheimer issuing the following statement: “We regret that this happened and apologize that the video aired in the telecast.”

That wasn’t much of an apology, but it was adequate for the event that occurred.  The quick flash of a right boob of a woman on Bourbon Street is not a big deal, even if it appeared during national coverage of the Sugar Bowl when young viewers were watching.

It appears as if this was not blown out of proportion like the quick exposure of Janet Jackson’s nipple during a performance with Justin Timberlake during the Super Bowl February 1, 2004.

The controversy that followed Jackson’s nipple flash became known as “nipplegate” and the reaction across America made it seem like America has just fallen off the edge of morality into the darkness of evil. The uproar was so loud and definite it actually became funny.

The fear many had about the impact of that quick nipple flash would have on the minds and psyche of young boys was totally irrational.

We should all be encouraged that it’s 2024 and the reaction to the breast flash during ESPN’s coverage of the Sugar Bowl does not rival the hysteria from the nipple flash in 2004.  Maybe we should be grateful and America does learn lessons about what is and what is not important.

However, a listener texted the show with condemnation of me for misrepresenting the response to the exposure of Janet Jackson’s nipple.  The texter said no one said that incident would have a negative impact on the minds of young males and that I was a “clown.”

Senior Producer Ian quickly shut down that texter and reminded us of the fallout from the nipple flash in 2004 – hear that segment of the show today in the audio player above.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images



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