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Navigating the line between documenting and glamorizing: How should broadcasts address court-storming?

Throughout a three-decade career as a prominent ESPN play-by-play broadcaster, Dave Pasch has experienced two college basketball games that ended in fans storming the court. One of these instances took place earlier this month when unranked LSU upset Kentucky at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La. Pasch recounted a conversation he had with analyst Jay Williams and an LSU athletics department staffer before the game, where they were told that LSU doesn’t storm the court because they have beaten Kentucky before. However, after the last-second shot victory, fans stormed the court.

In the aftermath of Wake Forest fans rushing the court following a win over Duke, the issue of court-storming has garnered national attention. The incident resulted in Duke star Kyle Filipowski getting injured, leading to Duke coach Jon Scheyer questioning the practice of court-storming in a postgame press conference. The topic has sparked debate on whether court-storming should be banned or made safer.

ESPN producer Eric Mosley and director Mike Roig have overseen numerous college games where fans stormed the court. They emphasized the importance of planning and communication to ensure the safety of production crew members during court-storming incidents. Mosley mentioned that thorough preparation and coordination with security personnel are crucial to anticipate and respond to court-storming scenarios.

Veteran broadcasters such as Dan Shulman and Bob Fishman shared their concerns about the risks associated with court-storming. Shulman highlighted the challenges of navigating chaotic court-storming situations while Fishman emphasized the need to document the events while prioritizing safety.

As broadcasters and production crews continue to cover court-storming incidents, they face the dilemma of balancing documentation with avoiding glorification of the actions. Roig acknowledged the fine line between documenting court-storming events and potentially encouraging future occurrences. The discussion on how to responsibly cover and address court-storming incidents continues among broadcasters and media outlets.

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