A recent television basketball broadcast has drawn fire from Butler University and fans citing a lack of decency and respect for a on court situation.
Maybe it’s a part of our DNA but as sports fans we at times seem to have an unusual “love/hate” relationship with our sports viewing. We love the big plays but we also gravitate towards the “dark seedy moments” like when we are vigorously cheering on a bloody hockey fight or “oohing and aahing” after a horrific race car wreck.
It’s not that we don’t like a game ending home run or a last second shot but as sports fans we tend to like those elements of a game or event that stir us to action, or help us release any pent up anger or hostility. The medical minds might call it role playing where we are involved in the event yet removed from the action.
TV execs know this part of the broadcast is essential to great ratings, not only for that game but for future events. They even tease it that way when they promo the next matchup as a David vs Goliath showdown.
But when does action from the field or court deem it necessary for the cameras to be shut off or turned away after a player is hurt or involved in a terrible accident? More often than not, common sense does prevail and that incident is only talked about or replayed in short snippets instead of being shown over and over in its entirety.
Butler basketball fans though are wondering if a line of decency was crossed when the recent game between Dayton and the Bulldogs, broadcast on NBC’s Sports Network, continued to show again and again the head slam in the goal post padding by Butler’s Rotnei Clark. During the interruption of play, game microphones were also able to pick up on conversation between the injured Clarke and team doctors. And that has the team crying “FOUL!” due to the fact that the information between those two is considered private and should not be known to those at home watching the game.
TV execs would argue that the participants in the games know there are game mics everywhere and what is said and heard by those at home is just part of the game experience for the TV audience.
But is it? Have we become so calloused in society that we have to see everything about a game no matter what the circumstance is? Do we really need to know the thoughts and words of the players or coaches during every time out or during other game situations? And as a TV broadcaster like NBC Sports Network, shouldn’t they be policing themselves better on what should be shown and heard instead of utilizing a “show at all cost” mentality?
Are ratings that important that they forget common sense when the camera is turned on?
Fans would say they want to know; they need to know; they have to know. TV broadcasters ought to say, “No way!” There is no reason not to practice good judgment in broadcasting, especially on a very public level and when it involves sensitive matters that affect the health and welfare of a person or group.
Put yourself in Clark’s shoes for one moment; would you want the world to know that what just happened might be a life changing event that you would want to deal with behind closed doors after everything has settled. The answer should be a resounding YES! Let’s hope future sports broadcasts realize this too.