Throw one racially-tinged comment and three seconds of awkward airtime into a pot, and baby, you've got yourself a Gottlieb stew going!
Coverage of the NCAA tournament’s Sweet Sixteen matchup between Marquette and Miami kicked off Thursday night with some good old-fashioned diversity jokes courtesy of CBS analyst Doug Gottlieb.
Gottlieb was seated on set alongside fellow analysts Greg Gumbel, Greg Anthony, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith, all African-American men. Clearly a situation ripe for parody, in Gottlieb’s eyes.
After the cast was introduced by Gumbel, Gottlieb plunged into the stream with an awkward joke, looking to come up with comedy gold.
Cream rising to the crop. I don’t know why you guys asked me, I’m just here to bring diversity to the set here. Give the kind of white man’s perspective on things from the point guard position... No? No?
Gottlieb swung for the fences—saying out loud what everyone at home was not thinking—and missed all of it. It was like watching a rocker throw himself off-stage for a crowd surf only to find dead, empty air.
The gaffe left Gumbel twisting in his chair; Anthony made a face, and a few awkward chuckles ensued—clearly not the reception Gottlieb had hoped for. Several painful moments passed before Smith began mopping up the mess.
“You jumped right into it,” Smith said. “You're swimming hard. Upstream, I might add."
Later on in the night, Gottlieb would apologize for the awkward moment.
“It was not a smart thing to say and I apologize,” Gottlieb later said in a statement through CBS (via the Huffington Post). He also tweeted out that the instance was a joke.
Joke or no joke, when you play with race on live television, you’re playing with fire. Doug Gottlieb might not have meant anything by it, but don't be surprised if he ends up getting burned.
On Twitter, bringing the Swag-man’s perspective: Dr__Carson