AUBURN – On Friday, a disagreement between WMTW News-8 and CBS Sports over licensing issues stripped a 12-minute video of Josh Titus from the CBS Sports site and YouTube.

It also raised emotions at Edward Little, where Titus is manager of the school’s varsity basketball team.

Titus, a senior with high-functioning autism, became an instant celebrity Feb. 3 when he donned the Red Eddies’ white-and-maroon uniform for Senior Night, scoring nine points in the fourth quarter against the Leavitt Area High School team. His efforts launched a standing ovation throughout the gym, and brought national attention to his accomplishment.

That same night, Patrick Thibodeau, a student manager with Down syndrome who attends Greeley High School, scored six points during his school’s Senior Night.

The student-managers’ individual efforts prompted Maine McDonald’s owner/operators to honor Titus and Thibodeau with the first “Spirit of the Game Award” from the restaurant giant, and the pair were prominently featured during CBS’ NCAA Final Four pregame show.

Video of Titus’ play was provided by WMTW to CBS Sports with an agreement for CBS to provide credit for the footage, but after the story ran there was some disagreement over that credit. That disagreement prompted removal of the footage from CBS Sports and YouTube sites, which caused an outcry among students at Edward Little on Friday.

Laura Davis, vice president of Rinck Advertising in Auburn, which represents McDonald’s, met with representatives of WMTW and McDonald’s on Friday afternoon, seeking a licensing agreement for the footage so McDonald’s can air the video in the future.

“WMTW allowed them to use their footage during that piece and they were very happy to let them use it,” Davis said of the CBS Sports program, but as the story exploded “it became obvious that we had to work toward licensing footage.”

Although McDonald’s doesn’t have any scheduled future airings of the video, Davis said the pending licensing agreement will allow her client to consider opportunities as they arise.

WMTW General Manager Ken Bauder did not respond a phone call or e-mail seeking comment.

A check of CBS Sports and YouTube late Friday showed the Titus/Thibodeau video was still unavailable for viewing.

Next up for Titus and Thibodeau? Basketball camp with the Celtics this summer.

– Judith Meyer


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