Pete Townshend: Super Bowl Pariah?

Pete Townshend may be one of the greatest guitar players of all time, but more than one organization wants to stop him from strumming along with The Who at the Super Bowl in Miami.

The reason? A past incident with child pornography.

The 64-year-old rocker was reprimanded by British police in 2003 and placed on country's sex offenders' register for five years after he admitted that he paid to view images on a child porn Web site in 1999.

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According to Townshend, it was all in the name of research: in a 2003 statement, he said that while it was wrong for him to visit the site, he did so because he needed information for a campaign he was launching against Internet child porn and for his autobiography. (In the past, he has said he believes he was sexually abused as a child.)

In Townshend's 1972 rock opera, "Tommy," the title character is sexually abused by his Uncle Ernie. In 2002, Townshend wrote a report about child porn and posted it on his Web site. He compared the path to free "pedophilic imagery" to a "free line of cocaine at a decadent cocktail party: only the strong willed or terminally uncurious can resist." Townshend subsequently removed the report from his site; it still lives on TheSmokingGun.com.

After a four-month-long investigation in 2003, in which police examined more than a dozen computers Townshend used, officials decided neither motive served as a defense to access the images. As part of an official cautioning procedure, Townshend's fingerprints, photograph, and a DNA sample were taken and he was placed on Britain's sex offender registry for five years.

Children's Organizations: NFL Shouldn't Have Picked Pete Townshend

His listing on that register expired in 2008. That was the same year Townshend and The Who were lauded by then-President George W. Bush at the Kennedy Center Honors. But for Kevin Gillick, president of Protect Our Children, Inc., a child protective charity in Brevard county, Fla., Townshend's penance and endorsement isn't enough.

"The NFL shouldn't have picked him in the first place," Gillick told ABCNews.com. "The damage was done when they picked him. And apparently, they didn't even consider this."

Gillick dismissed Townshend's excuse for accessing child porn and questioned his motives.

"[Research] is one of the most common excuses given by people who visit kiddie porn sites," he said. "These sites are most often visited by people who have a sexual attraction to children, just like people who go to grocery stores most often do so to get food. And of course, he paid for this, so he supported the industry when he did that. When you pay for child porn, you place an order for its next victim. I'm sure Mr. Townshend is intelligent enough to understand that."

He pointed out that even after Scotland Yard cautioned Townshend, the rocker got into further trouble. In 2006, Townshend published a story on his Web site called "The Comedian," which graphically described sex between a 16-year-old boy and girl. Townshend removed the story after children's charities in the U.K. expressed outrage, and apologized with a statement on his site: "I'm afraid I have had to end this Blog. I'm so sorry for those of you who were beginning to enjoy it, but it has upset certain people, and I sincerely do not wish to offend anyone."

Gillick's organization has distributed hundreds of flyers around Miami's Sun Life Stadium protesting Townshend's participation in the Super Bowl.

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