Public Editor

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‘Horse(bleep)’ headline gets ’em talking

01/06/2014 2:26 PM

01/08/2014 10:57 AM

I’ve heard a lot from readers about the main headline on Sunday’s story in Sports Daily on the stunning turnaround in Saturday’s AFC first-round playoff game between the Chiefs and the Colts.

Playing off the Colts’ mascot, it summed up what a lot of Kansas Citians were undoubtedly saying themselves: “Horse(bleep).” I doubt editors were bleeping out the word “feathers.”

Most of the reaction has been positive. One caller this morning said he’s long admired the clever wordplay in sports headlines, and thought this one was especially good. It’s even garnered attention from sources outside Kansas City, such as on

Huffington Post Sports.

But not everyone felt the same way. “Inappropriate” wrote one. “Tasteless, juvenile” wrote another.

As with many things, this is a purely subjective call. I don’t think you’d likely see that headline on a straight news story, but there’s no question the Sports section is a different thing from the front page or the Local section.

I don’t know that I see this as any different from, say, the punctuation symbols routinely used to signify curse words in the comic strips, for example. But since it’s so big on a section front, it also doesn’t surprise me that it sat wrong with some readers.

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