The NBA announced its all-league lineups earlier this week with newly-minted MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, James Harden, Anthony Davis and Luka Doncic all earning first-team recognition. It didn’t take long for Reddit sleuths to dig up a ballot cast by ESPN’s Maria Taylor, which surprisingly did not include Davis on any of the three teams. Taylor admitted it was a mistake (Davis’ name simply slipped her mind), a reasonable enough explanation considering all the sports she’s covering right now, assisting on NFL and college football broadcasts in addition to her studio responsibilities on NBA Countdown.
Upon learning of Taylor’s mistake, Doug Gottlieb didn’t have much sympathy for the ESPN host, wondering why the NBA gave her a vote in the first place.
Sensing this was not a popular sentiment, the Fox Sports commentator attempted to clarify his remarks, arguing that Taylor’s ESPN colleague Doris Burke, who serves as a color analyst on NBA broadcasts, was more deserving of a vote because of her background as a former college basketball player. Gottlieb probably should have fact-checked that before pressing send—Taylor played basketball at the University of Georgia, where she also starred as an All-SEC volleyball player.
Taylor owned up to her mistake in forgetting to vote for Davis, but refused to let Gottlieb off the hook for questioning her credentials.
Fox Sports’ Rachel Bonnetta, MLB writer Britt Ghiroli and Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell were among many who came to Taylor’s immediate defense, denouncing Gottlieb’s comments as both sexist and ill-informed. Ghiroli specifically called out Gottlieb for perpetuating negative stereotypes toward women, who are still massively underrepresented in sports media.
Maybe Taylor could have spent a little more time on her ballot, but clearly her accidental snub of Davis had little bearing on the final outcome with A.D. still claiming all-league status by a comfortable margin. Gottlieb’s assertion that studio hosts like Taylor and TNT’s Ernie Johnson aren’t qualified to vote for league honors and awards is similarly ludicrous. By that logic, Gottlieb should have no business sharing his thoughts and opinions on the likes of Odell Beckham and LeBron James, athletes who fall outside his area of expertise as a college hoops analyst. Yet, both players were discussed at length on Gottlieb’s radio show this week.
The 44-year-old tried to soften his criticism of Taylor by acknowledging her talent and grit as one of the harder workers in her field, but there’s no putting that genie back in the bottle. Gottlieb stepped in this one and now the Twitter masses are letting him hear about it.