Like the NBA today, the NFL once offended China. But the controversy became buried in the aftermath of the Janet Jackson Nipplegate incident, according to The Wall Street Journal. The 2004 Super Bowl was to celebrate the NFL's arrival in China. It was the first to be broadcast nationwide on CCTV-5, a sports channel on the government’s primary network that the league estimated at the time could mean a viewership of 300 million. "And that was the problem," reports The Journal. "During the halftime show, a minute-long montage aired that was meant to be an innocuous tribute to freedom that would encourage people to vote. Included in the segment: the iconic photo of a dissident standing in front of tanks leaving Tiananmen Square after the 1989 protests in Beijing. It was an image that had been virtually scrubbed from China until it shockingly appeared on this Super Bowl broadcast. But the exquisite timing of the most famous wardrobe malfunction in television history managed to distract from this other incident that occurred minutes earlier. And the tension over this picture, with the potential to torpedo the NFL’s fledgling business in China, barely received any attention in the U.S. American audiences were rapt by something else they weren’t expecting to see during the halftime show."
TOPICS: NFL, Janet Jackson, Chinese government, Nipplegate, Super Bowl