On Sunday night, ESPN aired the EVO 2017 Street Fighter V finals for the second time in the channels history. Unbeknownst to many, however, ESPN had to make a serious edit during the Top 8 matchup between Ryoka "Kazunoko" Inoue and Defending Capcom Cup Champon Du "Knuckledu" Dang.
The edit in question regarded Inoue's use of Cammy in the tournament. After his first matchup between Dang, Inoue was reportedly told by an EVO official that he had to change the costume of Cammy, which was confirmed by Inoue's agent, according to Kotaku affiliate Compete.
The online broadcast of the events were captured on the livestream, and the 2nd match saw Cammy change over to her formalwear DLC outfit. The broadcast on ESPN was edited to cut out most of the butt shots of Cammy, as well as officials telling Inoue to do the costume change.
According to Compete, an ESPN representative confirmed that "The request was made per broadcast standards."
The formalwear outfit contains a medium black skirt with a pair of full covering black briefs, as opposed to the more revealing thong of Cammy's default outfit.
The showing of a naked butt on television is a long-standing sticking point from Standards and Practices, the broadcasting term for network censors. Most of these network censors follow the guidelines put forth by the Federal Communications Commission, or the FCC, to regulate and properly rate media content on TV and radio.
According to the FCC, showcasing bare butts is deemed "obscene" and is often threatened with fines against any networks who are deemed violating this on air. All cable, satellite, and broadcast TV shows are subject to this fine; only satellite TV is exempt due to it being a subscription service. Because sport broadcasts are typically unrated (or presumed a PG rating), it is very likely that Standards and Practices forced the edit upon ESPN.
It should be noted, however, that there have been several court cases ruling against the FCC for fining bare behinds on television. In 2011, the Federal Courts threw out a $1.21 million fine against ABC for airing a seven second shot of actress Charlotte Ross' bare butt on a 2003 episode of NYPD Blue. The court cited the FCC's "based context-based indecency test is unconstitutionally vague,” including a quote by the FCC itself which stated "nudity itself is not per se indecent."
This is not the first time a Street Fighter character had to be censored on ESPN. Last year, the character Rainbow Mika also had her costume changed between matches, mostly for the same reasons as Cammy as her butt was considered too revealing in her default costume.
ESPN has begun airing video game tournaments in 2015, on the channel ESPN2. Due to the worldwide broadcasting of several different tournaments and leagues, there have been some instances of players and sponsors clashing with broadcasting Standards and Practices. This has not slowed down ESPN's interest in eSports - ESPN currently has all the streaming rights to Riot Games League of Legends, and has continued to promote the game and others on the official eSports homepage.
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