It was surely a slip of the tongue last weekend when a winning college football coach let the "f" word fly in a post-game interview. It was still unacceptable.

Especially at the college and pro levels, where TV cameras and interviewers are everywhere, common sense surely should supercede emotion during interviews.

Unfortunately, foul language has become too accepted, especially at the high school level of sports.

This isn't true in all cases. Some coaches exercise good discipline and simply don't allow it. From personal experience, it's often on the poorer performing teams where you hear the ugly words the most. Obviously, it can be interpreted as a sign of lack of discipline.

In our society in general, cursing has become more prevalent. No matter where you go, the foul language can be heard not only by inconsiderate adults, but by high school students and even elementary children. It's obviously accepted as a mode of communicating in too many homes.

In sports, exercising control is a main ingredient of success. Refraining from filthy language is one way to show that control.

There's no reason the "f" word has to fly in TV interviews, on the line of scrimmage, on sidelines, or at practices. Coaches should better control this, but there have been cases this year where we've heard coaches use it, too.

It's so common in high school games that referees don't administer penalties for such language. They should. After all, high school football is supposed to prepare youngsters for college and if they cuss during college games when TV cameras might pick up the dialogue, there could be ramifications.

It's not being prudish to think that foul language should be avoided during athletic events. And it's not only a show of control.

It's good sportsmanship.

And, it's also setting a good example for younger children looking up to you.

By RON GOWER

rgower@tnonline.com