If you pay any attention at all to basketball, you heard about the big brawl this past weekend that ended in the ejection of 10 players. Like with just about any breaking news story that has a video component, plenty of people quickly found the video of the brawl on YouTube and blogged about it, embedding the video in their blogs. While it may not be the sort of publicity the NBA wants, it did at least get people talking about the game. However, as an aside in a post on the Freakonomics blog, Steven Levitt notes that the NBA demanded that YouTube remove all clips of the fight -- and, indeed, if you look at the videos that were linked to or embedded from the various blogs, all are now missing. This could just be the NBA continuing its history of misunderstanding the value of online content. After all, just a few weeks ago, there was some discussion about how the NBA wanted to aggressively stop its videos from appearing on YouTube. However, a quick search shows that there are plenty of NBA videos on YouTube. But, if you search on brawl and nba, you get plenty of videos of the infamous Pacers/Pistons brawl (that included the crowd) from two years ago -- but all of the clips of the latest brawl have been removed. It seems clear that the NBA is trying to hide this event to prevent people from seeing it. This seems particularly short-sighted. It's as if they believe that by removing the videos from YouTube, people won't know it happened -- despite being blasted all over the news, including seemingly endless replays. Forcing the videos off YouTube suggests that the NBA isn't trying to deal with brawling, they're just hoping if they hide the videos, everyone will forget about them.
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