Everyone's heart went out to Louisville sophomore Kevin Ware after he suffered a horrific leg injury in the Elite Eight on Easter Sunday on national television. Ware was motivation for the Cardinals as they beat Duke and advanced to the Final Four. Ware was in attendance at the Georgia Dome, which everyone expected and no doubt it was a morale boost for his teammates as they came back from 12 points down in the second half to beat Wichita State.
The coverage of Kevin Ware during the game is what many people expected it to be. Those key moments, including the final minute of the game, when Ware could not bear to watch the final seconds as they hung on to win.
Some of you might say that I am being too hard on Kevin Ware and the coverage he is getting. There are a few things that other people have been doing that bothers me. Adidas had been making money off of Ware's injury until Friday when they stopped selling those t-shirts and realized it might not be a good idea. Since it was a nationally televised game, we all saw the injury live, on instant replay and on YouTube. The worst injury since Theisman broke his leg on Monday Night Football.
Every non-sports news TV program showed the video and discussed it. For columnists and members of the media, the number of interest stories escalated after his injury.
Now, Kevin Ware is not asking for this attention. He has actually been very reserved about it. They say that he is a shy kid, and that might be playing a role in how he has been over the past week.
So, do we put it on CBS and other media outlets for adding on to this story?
It's the same thing for any network and any sport that is being covered. CBS was guilty of Ray Lewis over-coverage throughout the Ravens playoff run earlier this year. You need a good story, and Kevin Ware has given you one for Louisville (other than Pitino).
You'll hear a lot about Pitino's great week, which includes an induction into the College Basketball Hall of Fame, his son getting the Minnesota job, and his horse making bank, but if the Cardinals win, they'll bring out a hydraulic scissor-lift to get Ware up to the basket to cut the net and it will be the end of a great story for Louisville. Pitino makes history and Ware's inspiration for his team has Hollywood writing up drafts for a movie.
Like I mentioned before, Ware at least is a humble person unlike Ray Lewis, who we had to watch preach and make a spectacle of himself in front of the camera round after round as the Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII back in February. So I will feel good for Ware, Pitino and the Cardinals if they win.
It's a dream finish for the producers at CBS and every sports writer who covers college basketball. Louisville might have a "30 for 30" special made for them. But the biggest crime these producers and writers can be found guilty of is exploiting Ware's injury for ratings and readers.
Here's an activity for you to keep you alert during the game tonight. Count the number of times CBS mentions Kevin Ware and how many times they show him on camera. You hope that the coverage can be evenly split between Michigan and Louisville. Hours before tip-off, Pitino and Ware give the Cardinals an early lead in the coverage.
But I wish Ware the best in his rehabilitation and I hope that he is back ready for the start of the season.