Fri Feb 06 09:43am EST
Last Wednesday, ESPN analyst Doug Gottlieb called the Nebraska-Kansas game for ESPN2. The above fracas -- in which Nebraska player Cookie Miller needlessly wrestled around after the play for a loose ball -- happened. Gottlieb, as you'll hear in the clip, said Miller was "acting like a punk." BURN.
So, Miller's father Big Cookie (yes, that is actually his name) emailed SportsByBrooks (yes, that was actually his plan) in an attempt to get his side of the story heard. Big Cookie wants Gottlieb to apologize for saying his son was acting like a punk on the grounds that it disappointed some family members and small children watching during the broadcast. Oh boy:
Mr. Gottlieb said, and I quote, “He, my son, could instigate something”, unquote. Well, if you go on “Cookie Miller Punk” on the Internet, you will see and read that Mr. Gottlieb really is the one that instigated something. Now, the Miller family is used to going in hostile gyms with my son’s basketball teams and listening, watching fans be fans. That’s part of the game and exceptable (sic). What Mr. Gottlieb said is unexceptable (sic). My concern is what guidelines are sports broadcasters under. Who governs the do’s and dont’s for them.
Big Cookie has something of a point. (And I thought I would never type those words in sequence in my entire life. Silly me.) But he also has to understand that Gottlieb's first job is honesty. ESPN2 basketball broadcasts aren't investigatory journalism, but they do rely on the pretense that the broadcaster is, for better or worse, telling you exactly how he feels. If Gottlieb thought Little Cookie was acting like a punk, he has a right -- arguably, a duty -- to say so. Plus, you know, Little Cookie was kind of acting like a punk.
For his part, Gottlieb isn't going to apologize, but he is willing to clarify:
“I understand how someone could take it because I used the word ‘punk.’ To be clear, I did not call Miller a ‘punk’, I said he was ‘acting like a punk’, which in truth assumes that he is not a punk, but that he has temporarily lowered his level of sportsmanship. My job is based in using my own personal knowledge, experience and opinion to analyze each situation. This was my analysis.”
According to his Wikipedia page, Doug Gottlieb was never a lawyer, nor did he even attend law school. He could have fooled me; that is a loophole-y, semantics-based argument that -- and I think I speak on behalf of slightly overdetermined arguers everywhere -- warms the cockles of my heart. Well done, Dougie. Now go easy on the p-word. Turns out some people don't like it so much.