Louisville guard Kevin Ware suffered a horrific knee injury during Sunday's Elite Eight game against Duke that was so bad it spawned an ethical debate online over whether sites should be able to GIF or host video of the injury. CBS, too, was criticized for showing the replay.
Ware jumped to block a three point shot at the elbow and appeared to suffer a compound fracture when he landed. To put it more plainly, his leg snapped into two pieces, and it happened right in front of the Louisville bench. (Update, Monday: Surgery went well, and Ware is recovering.) There was no contact or foul on the play. It was a freak accident. This is what Twitter looked like when the injury happened:
So, yeah, it's bad. It's really, really bad. It immediately drew comparisons to other memorable, horrific knee injuries in basketball. Shaun Livingston's knee injury came to mind. So, too, did Joe Theismann's famous knee injury on Monday Night Football. And then this happened:
Watching Duke/ Louisville my heart goes out to Kevin Ware.— Joe Theismann (@Theismann7) March 31, 2013
A debate started to arise on Twitter over CBS' coverage. The network replayed video of the injury once or twice when it initially occurred. But they eventually opted to show reaction shots from Ware's teammates and Duke opponents instead. Ware's coach Rick Pitino was caught crying. There was a ten minute delay in action while stadium medical staff helped Ware onto a stretcher and out of the building. He received a standing ovation from the crowd all while CBS' cameras rolled.
But was CBS right to show everything? ESPN's Bill Simmons didn't think so. "Show some dignity and go to commercial CBS," he tweeted. "Disagree here. You tell the story. They've handled it well," responded Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch. CBS decided not to show the video again, SI's Pete Thamel reported. There were cries for the Internet to refrain from GIFing the injury. SB Nation -- usually the go-to site for sports GIFs -- announced they made an "an executive decision not to gif that Kevin Ware injury." Instead, they rounded up the reaction shots CBS showed. They paint a pretty clear picture. The injury is very, very bad. You can see some Louisville players on the bench almost vomit. There were questions about whether ESPN should show it all. Our take it the video is news, and despite its warts, as sports news station ESPN should show it. They should issue a warning before showing it, and exercise some discretion when calculating the number of time it's played in a broadcast. That said, we don't have the video. It is still available, if you are still interested in watching it, over at Deadspin. Again, a warning: it is one of the most gruesome injuries we've ever seen. It is not for the faint of heart.