During Sunday’s broadcast of the virtually unwatchable ESPY Awards, host Lance Armstrong, lacking the skills or timing of a Don Rickles, made note of Jake Gyllenhaal’s front-row seat. “I thought you liked it in the rear,” said Armstrong, prompting the requisite he-didn’t-just-go-there shots of Phylils Diller, Joey Bishop, etc. (maybe I’m getting this show mixed up with a video I was watching later that night).

Amongst those wishing the 7-time Tour De France winner hadn’t gone there, is the New York Times’ Richard Sandomir.

I™m not sure where green-lighting Armstrong™s one-liner fits within the ESPY curriculum of lessons learned. But the rules of propriety must be different when you™re trying to be cool outside stadiums and arenas.

œWhen you™re trying to attract the best, most contemporary and most talented people from the entertainment community, they have an expectation of being attached to a show that takes risks, John Walsh said.

That attitude apparently sanctions the airing of Armstrong™s crude joke, and, as we scale ESPN™s highbrow mountain, cracks about Armstrong™s remaining testicle. (He is a survivor of testicular cancer.) You have to wonder if someone explained all this to the young Afghan girls who were honored by the ESPYs with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for defying Taliban authorities to play soccer.

You need not be a prude to believe that there are more appropriate places for such language than an awards presentation that celebrates sports.

Amen. In the future, I would hope subsequent butt-sex jokes on ESPN are confined to their proper place : Chris Connelly’s Make A Wish Foundation spots.