Chris Russo on First Take Photo credit: ESPN

Breaking news, NFL head coaches and players use profanity. Some of them use a lot of profanity, even when there are cameras nearby.

During the fifth and final episode of Hard Knocks that aired on HBO Tuesday night, New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh was seen hyping up his team with some a bunch of f-bombs and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo wasn’t happy about it.

“Can we take it easy with the language?” Russo asked Wednesday morning after First Take aired a clip of Saleh. “This language is driving me crazy. Is he doing it for TV cameras? Every five seconds. Lombardi would never do that.”

Russo’s latest “old man yells at cloud” moment sparked a fierce debate on First Take. But it was less about whether Saleh should be dropping f-bombs on Hard Knocks and more about whether ESPN’s Molly Qerim swears off-air. After Qerim pushed back on Russo’s sentiment by questioning whether he ever curses out of passion, Stephen A. Smith shared some behind the scenes info.

“Why don’t you just sit up there and say, ‘Doggie, I cuss all the time, so I don’t really see what the problem is,’ cause you do,” Smith said, an assessment Qerim was quick to dispute.

“That is inaccurate,” Qerim argued. “It’s just when I’m passionate about certain matters in private conversations, I could get a little fired up. That’s passion.”

Smith said he didn’t have an issue with Saleh cursing on Hard Knocks, but he did note a difference between the head coach’s frequent use of profanity from Qerim’s swearing. Saleh wasn’t dropping f-bombs in private, he was doing it on camera for a national audience to see.

“That is not a private conversation,” Smith said. “You’re on HBO with the cameras rolling. That is not private!”

While Saleh was cursing on camera, it was in a private setting, where the Jets held editorial control over what gets aired on HBO. Because the Jets had editorial control, Saleh was able to speak freely. Because Hard Knocks airs on HBO, the Jets had no issue with Saleh’s f-bombs getting aired, just like they had no issue with Rex Ryan’s incessant swearing on the show in 2010.

But Russo still wasn’t ready to concede. “I would never cuss like that,” Russo said. “I speak properly. Are you kidding me?”

Chris “Mad Dog” Russo can brag about a lot of things in his sports media career. Ironically, the ability to “speak properly” is not one of them.

[First Take]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to