Some things in life are better left unsaid even if they come from a good place.
It appears that legendary former FSU coach Bobby Bowden didn’t follow this sage wisdom Wednesday when he appeared on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike.”
Bowden got on the subject of players without fathers and ended up ruffling the feathers of a lot of people.
Bowden said he started noticing this trend in his coaching career, which spanned from 1976 to 2009.
“During my last days at Florida State, 65 to 70 percent of my boys did not have a daddy at home,” Bowden said. “They’re raised by mommas. Thank God for them mommas, or grandmommas. Or big sister, or aunt. But where’s the man?
“A boy needs a male figure, and the girls do, too. Somebody to discipline them and make them be a man. I used to kid about this, they grew up wanting to be like their momma. They want to be a man like their momma, that’s why they wear earrings.”
Oh boy. Bobby Bowden on players not having dads. "They wanna grow up to be men, like their momma. That's why they wear earrings." pic.twitter.com/iBhUueqEqw
— Dr Cork Gaines (@CorkGaines) January 4, 2017
— Bobby Bowden (@TheBobbyBowden) January 4, 2017
One can imagine that if a guy like Bowden makes comments like these, it’s nearly guaranteed they’ll generate extreme reactions. It’s probably best to take the comments with a grain of salt, as Bowden tried to point out later on that he was “joking.” It’s kinda like your really old grandpa saying weird stuff (wait a second – I never grew up with either of my grandfathers. I wonder what Bobby thinks of me?!)
SB Nation’s Spencer Hall shot down the “he’s old” thing with this tweet:
This isn't age, he's always been like this https://t.co/b4jDpmxAtp
— HAPPY MOO YEAR (@edsbs) January 4, 2017
Similarly, ESPN Radio’s Bomani Jones brought up a good point:
of note: these coaches decry this lack of fathers while exploiting those fathers' absences in recruiting. but alas.
— El Flaco (@bomani_jones) January 4, 2017
While Bowden’s comments were sure to generate backlash, it’s hard not to remember how much of an impact he likely had in the lives of literally hundreds of young adults.
By Wednesday evening the Internet had blown up over his comments as the Internet tends to do. Bowden was already making the rounds on media as they sought out his opinion on the reaction to his comments.
Per the Tallahassee Democrat’s Jim Henry, Bowden said people didn’t understand the context in which he made the comments.
“They never finish what you say,” Bowden told the Tallahassee Democrat.
“I was kidding about that. And I made a statement, ‘Thank goodness for these sweet mothers.’ And I said I was just kidding, but they leave all that part out.”