Debate continues on showing Kevin Ware's injury replays
It had been nearly 24 hours, but Jim Nantz said Monday he still was unable to get the image of Kevin Ware's broken right leg out of his mind.
"I've never seen anything like that before," the CBS announcer said, recalling the compound fracture the Louisville guard suffered during an NCAA regional final victory over Duke on Sunday. "You kind of replay it in your head."
Everyone who saw it -- in person, on television or online -- will replay it in their heads, but a day after the injury, the debate over how often to replay it on screen continued.
Sean McManus, CBS Sports chairman, said he was pleased with how the network handled the situation, both in the "very measured and very emotional" approach taken by Nantz and analyst Clark Kellogg and the decision to replay the incident only twice -- from different angles -- then stop.
"In retrospect, it was a relatively easy call to make because of the gruesomeness of the injury," McManus said of a decision he made along with Harold Bryant, CBS Sports' executive producer. "A lot of decisions were being made on the fly but I think the right decisions were made."
CBS never considered going to commercial while Ware was being attended to, McManus said.
The need for images of the injury itself was lessened by reaction shots of Ware's teammates, opponents and coach Rick Pitino, what McManus called "as dramatic a series of pictures as I've seen in a long time."
Nantz said he has seen football injuries as bad as Sunday's, but as a basketball player Ware was more exposed, adding to the horror.
"For it to happen right in front of his teammates, right by the bench, that reaction shot, to see the shock and horror from just a few feet away, it's kind of hard to get your mind around it," Nantz said.
Kellogg said he mostly kept quiet in part because he was busy praying for Ware, in part because he was physically unable to speak.
"It was as raw and emotional a circumstance as I've been involved with as a broadcaster," he said.
Said Nantz: "I kept thinking as it played out for nine minutes, if we're going to say anything, there better be a reason why you're talking because there is nothing we can add at that moment."
After CBS showed the initial replays, other news organizations had to decide whether to use the footage. The most visible among them, ESPN, did not show it on "SportsCenter," even though the show's producers were given the go-ahead to do so if they chose.
"There was a lot of discussion [Sunday] night both ways," said Vince Doria, the network's senior vice president and director of news. "You can make a case either way. What the news desk did is put out a very specific newswire to the shows saying that we could run a version of it once, in real time.
"The version showed him going up, coming down and he starts to buckle. It's not gruesome in that view of it yet and it gives you a sense of how it happened, what happened, where he was on the court."
Doria said producers of "SportsCenter," including senior coordinating producer Craig Bengston, opted not to show the video of the angle from behind Ware. "I respect that," Doria said, "but I personally think we could have shown a real-time version once, allow people to see how it happened and could have showed it in a way that was not gruesome."
Don't top executives such as Doria have the power to order producers to use relevant video?
"Not unless I feel strongly about it; I wanted to give the shows the choice," he said. "I think the shows should get some leeway in those kinds of things and that's what happened here."