Jarren Duran of the Red Sox before a July 2 game. Jarren Duran of the Red Sox before a July 2 game. (Rhona Wise/USA Today Sports.)

Profanity often shows up in sports, and it sometimes shows up on sports broadcasts. That can be with fan interviews, player interviews, hot mics, or even broadcasts of particular images. The latter is what came up for Boston Red Sox outfielder Jarren Duran after a postgame interview with NESN’s Jahmai Webster on June 24.

There, Duran was wearing a custom-made undershirt that says “F— ‘Em.” And that led to an official letter of warning for him from MLB senior vice-president (on-field operations) Michael Hill. But Duran has now displayed that letter by his locker. And he discussed the meaning behind that undershirt (in particular, it’s a reference to his past mental health struggles) Thursday, telling MassLive’s Chris Cotillo Friday he’s “happy to pay” any fine he receives for it:

“I’m not surprised because obviously, it’s bad words and bad language,” he said Thursday before playing the Marlins. “It’s understandable. I’m glad they didn’t fine me. They just gave me a warning. If I ever hit a walk-off again, I’ll just take everything off so I don’t get in trouble.

“But that would be a fine I’d be happy to pay,” he added. “I wouldn’t have a problem paying that fine because it’s just me wearing something that means a lot to me.”

…“It’s basically saying the phrase to the mental demons that were trying to get me to not be here anymore,” he said. “Telling them to basically back off, that I can do this and I want to be here.

“I’m still gonna wear it under my jersey every single time. It means something to me. It’s no disrespect. It’s just something that means a lot to me so I’ve got to represent it, even when I get in trouble for it.”

It’s understandable why the league weighed in the way it did. A lot of profanity in sports still receives significant pushback from at least a segment of fans and media. And leagues have often tried to minimize that from players, sometimes in questionable ways.

But there are also times where profane comments take on their own life and are seen by many as the right thing for the emotion of a particular moment, including at least one around the Red Sox. And the particular story here with Duran helps explain why he’s doing this. That doesn’t necessarily mean MLB is in the wrong; maybe showing that shirt on a broadcast isn’t ideal. But if Duran is willing to either not show it there, or pay a fine if he does, it seems like this can work out for both sides.


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.