Doug Gottlieb made some idiotic statements in his time as a sports personality. There was that time it was the NCAA men’s basketball tournament along with Charles Barkley, Greg Gumbel, Greg Anthony, Kenny Smith and he decided to go with this joke live, on-air: “I don’t understand why you guys asked me,” said Gottlieb, “I’m just here to bring diversity to the set here, to give the white man kind of perspective.” There was also the time he tweeted, “Retiring because rehab is too hard is the millennial thing I’ve ever heard. #AndrewLuck”
That gem earned this answer from Troy Aikman: “It’s all bullshit, Doug.”
One of Gottlieb’s last horrific takes was in July, of Simone Biles walking away from the competition. He said there is a double standard in how male athletes are treated when it comes to mental health issues. It also threw out the old trope “no women want to be equal” when it comes more to pay equity and having allegations of wrongdoing by men taken as seriously as men’s denials. Additionally, Biles received a lot of criticism for stepping away from competition during the Olympics.
Gottlieb must have gotten 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 the state of Florida to the state of Jackson on the day of the early signing. His first tweet was “Twitter celebrating a child who makes an obvious mistake is hilarious.”
Yes, Hunter made the decision to go to the school he wanted to go to was a mistake, building a relationship with Deion Sanders is a mistake, doing something that Doug Gottlieb doesn’t think is a good idea is always a mistake.
Political commentator Roland Martin called Gottlieb about it, asking him why Hunter was making a mistake. And, to be fair, Martin used a false equivalence when he claimed that Jackson’s state was 11-1 last year (in the FCS) and the state of Florida was 5-7 (in a Power 5 conference). Gottlieb’s response was to list all the reasons why playing for a Power 5 program is better than playing for an HBCU, including this sentence: “HBCU football doesn’t have nearly the same support athletically, academically, medically, and they play a lower schedule with lower teammates.
While it is very true that HBCUs do not have the financial resources that predominantly white institutions have in athletics, or any other department, that does not make HBCU lower schools, which seems to be the point that Gottlieb is trying to make. . Not only did he say in the first sentence that the HBCUs do not have the financial support of the Power 5 schools, but in the second he said that after football it is better to have the Power 5 alumni network.
This is why people simply cannot expect others to respect all their opinions. Not only do I disagree with Gottlieb’s views on HBCUs, but he is completely wrong. There are successful HBCU alumni in every single field, including medicine, entertainment, law, engineering, politics, and even sports. Fortune 500 companies regularly take their recruiters to job fairs at HBCUs to seek out promising candidates, as do NFL scouts from the Pro Days football team.
I would never argue that the state of Jackson has a better athletic program than the state of Florida, but I cannot admit that the state of Florida has a better overall institution. Especially not to Gottlieb, who has a long track record of making statements without seriously examining them. This particular statement by Gottlieb started in vain and turned into an insult.
The work that HBCUs do with fewer resources is extraordinary. If Gottlieb had simply taken some time to learn about these institutions, he could have spared himself another public embarrassment.