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CBS defends showing crying children in NCAA tournament broadcasts

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 3/22/2018 USA TODAY Sports
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There's no crying in baseball. Or so the movie goes.

But for some TV viewers, they don't want to see crying in basketball, either. Specifially, crying children.

After the NCAA tournament's opening weekend, some people were not too happy with part of the coverage provided by CBS and Turner Sports. 

RELATED:  Men’s NCAA Tournament bracket

The first rounds of games — which saw the field whittled from 68 teams to 16 — featured shocking upsets, huge comebacks and last-second shots that created a buzz on social media. While viewers were treated to celebration, jubilation and elation, coverage also featured what have become customary shots of defeat, disappointment and yes, crying.

In an interview with Yahoo Sports, CBS executive producer Harold Bryant defended the coverage.

“It’s part of the drama and the storytelling of the tournament,” he said. “It’s part of the emotion. We try to capture the emotion and we try to strike that right balance.”

Some fans have described the shots on social media as lazy, cheap and exploitative.

Bryant, who was speaking for CBS and Turner — who share broadcast rights for the tournament — countered that a wide array of emotions are captured.

“We show happy kids, we show sad kids, we show happy adults, we show players that are happy, we show players that are sad, crying on the benches or on the floor. We do our best, throughout all of these games, throughout the tournament, to strike that proper balance.”

One issue some people have with the coverage is age. Kids are — well, kids. They are vulnerable and seeing them cry when they lose isn't all that informative or new. 

It is different to show an athlete, a coach — even a member of a pep band, like Villanova's crying piccolo player, who became a meme in 2015. 

In 2017, video of the crying son of Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips went viral.

This year, young fans from Arizona State, Tennessee and Cincinnati — among others — have been featured prominently.

Another issue is some viewers believe the networks are treating the tournament differently from other sporting events. How many cutaways to crying children are shown during an NFL game? An NBA game? 

When Bryant was asked if social media played into the networks' choice, he replied: “We can’t control what people are doing on the internet. We’ve gotta strike a balance. We’ve gotta be journalistic and cover the story.”

Related slideshow: 2018 NCAA Tournament (Provided by photo services)

SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02:  Head coach Jay Wright of the Villanova Wildcats raises the trophy with his team after defeating the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas.  Villanova defeated Michigan 79-62. 2018 NCAA Tournament
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