Doug Gottlieb has made some moronic statements in his time as a sports personality. There was that time he was the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament set with Charles Barkley, Greg Gumbel, Greg Anthony, Kenny Smith and decided to go with this joke live, on-air: “I don’t why you guys asked me,” Gottlieb said, “I’m just here to bring diversity to the set here, give the kind of white man’s perspective.” There was also the time he tweeted out, “retiring cause rehabbing too hard is the most millennial thing I’ve ever heard. #AndrewLuck”
That gem earned this response from Troy Aikman: “That’s total bullshit, Doug.”
One of Gottlieb’s most recent horrible takes was in July, about Simone Biles stepping away from competition. He said that there is a double standard in the way that men athletes are treated when it comes to mental health issues. He even threw out the old “don’t women want to be as equals” trope when that’s more about pay equity and having accusations of wrongdoing by men taken as seriously as men’s denials. Also, Biles received plenty of criticism for her stepping away from competition during the Olympics.
Gottlieb must have been bored since he hadn’t caused a stir in a few months so he decided to comment on Travis Hunter’s decision to change his commitment from Florida State to Jackson State on early-signing day. His first tweet was “Twitter celebrating a kid making an obvious mistake is hilarious.”
Yes, Hunter making the decision to go to the school that he wanted to go to was a mistake, building a relationship with Deion Sanders is a mistake, doing something that Doug Gottlieb doesn’t believe is a good idea is always a mistake.
Political commentator Roland Martin called Gottlieb out for this, asking him why Hunter was making a mistake.nd, to be fair, Martin used a false equivalency when bringing up that Jackson State was 11-1 last year (in the FCS) and Florida State was 5-7 (in a Power 5 conference.) Gottlieb’s response was to list all the reasons that playing for a Power 5 program is better than playing for an HBCU including this sentence: “HBCU football doesn’t have close to the same support athletically, academically, medically, and they play an inferior schedule with inferior teammates.”
While it’s very true that HBCUs don’t have near the financial resources that predominantly white institutions have in athletics, or in any other department, that does not make HBCUs inferior schools, which appears to be the point that Gottlieb is trying to make. Not only did he say in the first sentence that HBCUs lack the financial support of the Power 5 schools, but in the second one said after football it’s better to have the Power 5 alumni network.
This is why people can’t simply expect others to respect all of their opinions. I don’t only disagree with Gottlieb’s opinions on HBCUs, he’s flat out wrong. There are successful HBCU alums in every single field, including medicine, entertainment, law, engineering, politics, and even sports. Fortune 500 companies regularly bring their recruiters to job fairs at HBCUs to look for promising candidates as do NFL scouts to the football team Pro Days.
I would never argue that Jackson State has a better athletic program than Florida State, but there’s no way I will concede that Florida State has a better overall institution. Especially not to Gottlieb, who has a long track record of making statements without giving them a serious examination. This particular statement from Gottlieb began unnecessary and escalated into an insult.
The work that HBCUs do with less resources is extraordinary. If Gottlieb had simply taken a little time to learn about these institutions he could’ve saved himself another public embarrassment.