ESPN analyst Maria Taylor was revealed to have left Anthony Davis off her first, second and third All-NBA Team. A mistake even she admits, but criticism from Fox Sports’ Doug Gottlieb sent tempers flaring on Twitter. Gottlieb questioned her experience and he has every right to do so. If NBA voters don’t want to be criticized, don’t vote.
Because I PLAYED basketball…I COVER the league. And I DESERVE everything I’ve worked hard for. https://t.co/JwLjk6dsb9— Maria Taylor (@MariaTaylor) September 19, 2020
Inexperienced sports analysts — men and women — will always have to demonstrate their knowledge of the game. If you lack experience and make a questionable decision, you will be challenged. Right now Maria Taylor feels called out as an individual, but Gottlieb’s real gripe is with any inexperienced person. Taylor votes for prestigious awards in today’s game and any mistake could cost an athlete at the negotiating table.
Wow it’s been a long week. But if everyone would now like to take away my voter privileges because of a CLEAR mistake. Please feel free.— Maria Taylor (@MariaTaylor) September 19, 2020
Maria Taylor turned herself into a victim when she could have defended her view. Leaving Anthony Davis off every All-NBA team is pathetic, but anyone should be given the opportunity defend themselves. An opportunity to explain herself was there, but she chose to take offense instead.
How this should have gone
Taylor should have taken the clear shot Gottlieb sent and turned it into a positive stride for women in sports. Any person who votes when they know their choices will be made public should expect to be questioned when they make a mistake.
Remember when Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn voted for Carmelo Anthony to hijack LeBron’s unanimous MVP? His entire career was called into question and he never once uttered a victim’s mentality. Washburn instead wrote a 750-word piece to explain his vote.
Maria Taylor got defensive when that same criticism came her way and now a bigger storm comes. We had an opportunity for Maria to bring us closer to fair NBA voting, but instead harp on the exchange between Taylor and Gottlieb on Twitter.
Gottlieb will likely be forced by Fox Sports to apologize, but he shouldn’t have to. Grown men and women covering professional sports in the public eye should be able to handle the heat. No one is excused from that criticism.
Not men, not women — nobody.