Last night, Twitter was abuzz (for a Friday night) about ESPN showing a boob as they panned around for crowd shots during the third quarter of the University of Louisiana-Monroe vs. Baylor game. People may even have formed the same opinion without voicing it on social media, and all in all, it seems likely that lots of people people are under the impression ESPN showed a fan boob in the crowd last night. To wit:
And yet, upon even further review, no, they didn't: our own Tim Burke did a little detective work—that is to say, rewound the tape—and decided it was most definitely a shadow, not a nipple. I'm inclined to agree. Let's break this down like it's the fucking Zapruder film:
00:00—00:01: Happy fans, mostly female. Cheering. Lots of pom-poms. A sign in the corner that gets cut off because it's too wordy. Brevity is the golden rule for signs.
00:01—00:02: More cheering. Camera pans left, offering the first glimpse of our eventual protagonist.
00:02—00:03: She's fully in the screen now, straining to be noticed by the camera, unaware that she'll soon reveal what many will mistake for a nipple. The picture of innocence.
00:03—00:04: Innocence lost. Or is it? The size of the dark spot varies considerably from one millisecond to the next—vertically, horizontally, all over the place. Unusual for a body part. The spot in question seems to be a shadow.
00:04—00:05: Wild variation! Darkness everywhere! Shadows descend, confusion reigns. At one point, the supposed "nipple" is gone completely—without being covered up. That would make no sense—were it a nipple.
00:05—00:06: The scoreboard covers up—what? Nothing. The upper torso of a happy fan.
00:06—00:07: Baylor prepares to kick off, unaware of any controversy.
All is safe for work, ESPN did not err this time. (Except for when they showed this guy.) I admit I was excited too, but it's just a shadow. I guess if we want to see a boob, our only choice is to wait until one one really does pop out on TV. Stay vigilant.