Doug Gottlieb is embarking on another new endeavor. The former CBS Sports radio host has up and moved to Fox Sports where he’ll be a basketball analyst and radio host (presumably until the Oklahoma State job opens up again in a few years). That puts him in “good” company as he’ll join Colin Cowherd, Clay Travis, Jason Whitlock, and Skip Bayless, to name a few, on that network’s ever-growing roster of People Who Say Stuff Loudly.

Before starting that new gig, Gottlieb stopped by the Barrett Sports Media Podcast last week where he spent time talking with host Jason Barrett on a multitude of topics, from how he felt when he found out he wasn’t going to become OSUs next head coach (“I was in a million different pieces on the sidewalk”) to what went wrong with CBS Sports (“It was a missed opportunity on both ends”).

One topic in particular that seemed to get Gottlieb’s goat was the way Sports Illustrated media reporter Richard Deitsch covers Doug’s new co-worker, Skip Bayless. Bayless, a king of hot takes in a land full of hot takers, takes to Twitter quite often to share his strong opinions that often fly in the face of, shall we say, logic.

That’s usually when Deitsch steps in with something like this…

It’s pretty much become a regular feature in anyone’s Twitterfeed who follows Deitsch. Bayless tweets something Baylessian, Deitsch tweets how poor Skip’s ratings are, and on and on we go until the end of time or FS1, whichever comes first.

So, yeah, Doug Gottlieb is not a fan.

“I think it’s embarrassing when Richard tweets those numbers out. Hey dude, you have a podcast. Let’s see those numbers. If his job is to be the sports media reporter, then he should break news. He should be ahead of stories and tell people what’s going on behind the scenes. He does some of that but not a ton of it. 

Now is he an analyst of television shows? If that’s his role, then one, he’s never been on television so he’s talking about stuff he doesn’t know about. Two, go thru shows. Watch an entire show or entire week of shows and give the analysis. 

If that’s your job then do it. But just taking potshots because you don’t like the debate format or Skip Bayless, that shows great insecurity and if you’re Sports Illustrated I don’t know how you think that’s good. You become the laughing stock of broadcasting.”

Okay, so, lots to take in here. Before we get into it, let’s first acknowledge that Gottlieb and Deitsch have a history that you probably won’t find surprising.

So looking at these comments, there’s a lot of simple rebuttals that can be made based on what Gottlieb says. Deitsch actually does quite a bit of behind the scenes reporting and if this is about tweets, just scroll his Twitterfeed to see how many stories he writes about what goes on behind the scenes in the world of sports media. He’s also become something of a resource for sports fans on Twitter who want to be kept abreast of good journalism, but don’t have the time to go searching for it. Deitsch’s retweets carry weight in that arena.

From here Gottlieb goes on the “if you’ve never worked on a TV show, you can’t criticize one” defense, which, c’mon. That’s just lazy. What does that even have to do with a show’s ratings? And two, you don’t think Deitsch has watched FS1 shows? The point isn’t that he’s not watching, the point is that he’s watched and found what he saw to be wanting (as our Ian Casselberry once said, watching Undisputed “should be called an endurance test”).

Finally, Doug protests the “potshots” that Deitsch is taking each time he tweets about Skip’s lousy ratings, as if Gottlieb, Bayless and the majority of talent on FS1 haven’t built entire careers on potshots. It’s in this faulty logic that we finally come to the recognition that Gottlieb is simply missing the point about what Deitsch is doing.

Bayless’ work ethic, which would be commendable if it wasn’t used to accomplish something so unappealing, means he’s constantly working some kind of platform to push his presence and his takes. He’s got Undisputed. He’s got Facebook Live. He’s commenting on his own Facebook Live videos. He’s on the radio. He’s doing interviews talking about how right he is. And of course, he’s on Twitter where he tries to mine takes like “LeBron is bad” so far past the point of credence that it’s a parody of a parody of a parody.

Skip Bayless

So when Deitsch tweets about how more people watch Animal Cops Miami than Undisputed, it’s not about saying Skip is wrong. It’s about saying Skip is irrelevant. His opinions do not matter in the way he thinks. They are farts in the wind.

That isn’t to say people aren’t watching or paying attention. The numbers say that, for better or worse, debate shows are still alive and well. But there’s a difference between raw numbers and influence.

It’s a bit like being on a hit CBS sitcom. Yes, you are being watched by millions of people across the country. Yes, your show is one of the most popular on TV right now. But those people who are watching aren’t influencing the culture. You will not hear your catchphrases when you walk down the street and you will not see your show trending online when it’s on. You might get 10 million viewers today, but you’re forgotten within six months and no one remembers anything about your show. It’s ephemeral, meant to satisfy in that singular moment but otherwise forgotten.

You matter, but you also don’t. That’s a cold, hard truth in a world where your opinion is supposed to hold weight.

Meanwhile, shows with a third of your ratings on other channels or platforms dominate the pop culture landscape and live on for decades through fandom and adoration because they connect on a deeper level through better writing, better performances, or a sense of relevance.

So yes, on an obvious level, Richard Deitsch is trolling Skip Bayless each time he tweets. But on a deeper level, Deitsch is laying bare the essence of Bayless’ career and those who work beside him (like Gottlieb now). It must be terrifying for someone who treads the same water to realize that your work, while it may check all the corporate boxes, has no real connection to the world in which it’s supposedly a driving force.

When it comes to guys like Bayless and Cowherd and Gottlieb, it’s clear that they’re getting results on a certain level. That’s why Skip keeps tweeting. But do they matter? Does what they say matter? It doesn’t quite feel like it, and that’s why Deitsch keeps tweeting.

About Sean Keeley

A graduate of Syracuse University, Sean Keeley is the creator of the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and author of 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse related things for SB Nation, Neighborhoods.com, Curbed Seattle and many other outlets. He currently lives in Chicago.

  • KnucklesTOFaces

    HIT EM WITH THE HEIN!!!!!!!

  • souvien

    Guy who stole his teammates credit cards supports guy that claimed Troy Aikman was gay…

    sounds about right for the fetid sewer that is FS1/FSR…

  • Scott Fitzgerald

    Richard Deitsch is a loser. He as a weird and strange obsession with Skip Bayless.

  • RodTorfelson

    Seems Gottlieb should fit right in with the murder’s row of HOT TAEK spewing blowhards FS1 seems hell bent on assembling.

  • newdog301

    Richard Deitsch comes off as one of those celebrities who checks out what the trending topic is of the day, usually some fake outrage about something, and fires off a safe tweet mocking the thing and agreeing with the general sentiment of social media. Celebrities know it won’t get them in trouble, and will get them a nice number of favorites and retweets to stroke their ego.

    Richard knows that attacking Skip Bayless on Twitter is a safe endeavor as most people on it will not disagree with him, and the people that do like Bayless don’t feel the need to actively defend him. His fanbase does not exactly have the same motivation as someone like Lady Gaga for example.

    Richard is accomplishing nothing by tweeting those numbers. Those are actually very good ratings. Of course some ridiculous shows are going to outdraw it. Some ass shot from an Instagram model gets more likes than anything Bayless or Deitsch tweet. Does that automatically invalidate what they wrote?

  • Thor Goodrich

    Great piece. I would extend much further beyond Bayless, Cowherd, Gottlieb to all opinion talkers — their points of view are all irrelevant to me. Have you listened to ESPN radio in the afternoon? I tune in on occasion and whatever is being discussed is vapid, insignificant pulp. Absolutely worthless. I don’t frickin’ care what Amy of these people have to say. Why should I care what Van Pelt had to say at 11p? Give me highlights and breakdowns of significant plays during games, not opines.

  • BK

    Great column, and judging from some of these comments, people are still missing the point. Bayless is looking to get a reaction, and doesn’t care how people respond. Look at his Twitter feed. His “Follows” are 0. He offers up a “hot take,” and people arguing in his feed are essentially shouting into a black hole. He has no interest in hearing a retort, because he’s already moving on to his next even HOTTER take. I really don’t understand why people would follow him.

    Deitsch can be a douche, but I like when he posts the ratings comparisons. It’s a wake-up call to Bayless’ “fans” that his act has grown tired. And no, those are not “Very good ratings,” when you compare them to what was on before Bayless got there (virtually unchanged), how he was supposed to take a bite out of ESPN (also virtually unchanged), and the salary he’s making.

  • Bscotch Bscotch

    Strange strategy for a guy who had no audience on an unrated net (CBS Sports Net) and will now have no audience on a rated one.

  • CriticsTalk

    Does what Richard Deitsch tweet matter?

  • CriticsTalk

    People only work for Awful Announcing becase they cannot find work elsewhere.

  • Michael F

    “Deitsch is laying bare the essence of Bayless’ career and those who work beside him (like Gottlieb now). It must be terrifying for someone who treads the same water to realize that your work, while it may check all the corporate boxes, has no real connection to the world in which it’s supposedly a driving force.”

    That’s quite the statement because Skip Bayless is getting paid millions of dollars to spout those opinions. He is contractually obligated to be opinionated and yet you think it must be “terrifying” to him (or Doug) that not any significant section of the population cares about such opinions. I guess that begs the question Sean Keeley, what does it really say about your life? You write a column and can barely muster 10 comments in reaction. You apparently have some type of profession where you spend your time critiquing an individual who does not matter. One can only conclude you must matter even less. Perhaps you don’t even matter at all by your own standards. A time for self-reflection to re-evaluate your own life seems appropriate.