I'm starting a new series called Controversial or Not to better identify which players in which leagues are wrongly identified as controversial or not controversial. Jordi graciously agreed to also join in for this post: here are the NFL players deemed NOT controversial:
The Serious Tip on why Randy Moss is NOT controversial.
MCBias on why Tiki Barber is NOT controversial
For my non-controversial NFL player, I chose Monsieur Barber, formerly of the New York football Giants. I do not think Tiki is controversial in his statements from his book. The complaints against Tiki are threefold:
(1) He is backtalking against his coach, and did so even when he was a member of the team:
(2) He is attacking the leadership abilities of his young QB teammate, Eli: and
(3) He is wrong to complain about not getting paid enough during his career.
Let's look at each one of those complaints. First, why are people so furious that Tiki is insulting Tom Coughlin? Look, I'm not too old to remember a distant day when you could blow up at your old boss, after you left your job, and not have to worry that your next workplace would hold it against you or that it would be read in a blog. Worker relations have become such a mess in this country over the last 20 years. You not only can be fired and mistreated, but now you have to pretend that you like it, too. Tiki didn't like his boss, and he's in the enviable 10% that can now say that without repercussions. Do you know what it's like when your boss makes you hate your job, that you used to love? And when you play football, your job is pretty much who you are. No, I think Tiki was more than justified to complain, and is NOT controversial.
Next, let's talk about Eli. If Eli was a rookie QB, yes, Tiki should give him a little bit of a break. But look, Tiki was in his last few years as a football player, on a team that had reached the Super Bowl a few years ago. And now, these veterans have to play big brother to a QB who apparently wasn't catching on very fast. I don't think it was the classiest thing in the world for him to take on Eli, but look, that's how veterans are when young players mess up. They get resentful, because they know they have few chances to ever be on a good team again. Not news.
Finally, the money thing. Here again, I see too many sports bloggers telling Tiki to shut up without paying attention to details. He got a six-year contract in 2000, before he was a real star at the RB position. He did sign an extension in 2005, but by then it was rather late. So he's right to say he was underpaid by 10 million dollars; once he started running for 1200 yards + a season, he did deserve a higher salary. Now, it's true that usually contract re-writes tend to be more for QB's than for other positions. But I still think Tiki is right when he says he was underpaid. Not controversial either.
What IS controversial is how poor Tiki Barber is in the booth. I did not see all of his debut, admittedly, but it looked like Costas and Co. had to carry him and ask him specific questions for him to add details. It's controversial to me how the networks fall all over each other to sign these ex-football players to be commentators, and these players are terrible. If they didn't play football, they wouldn't be hired. There's a sort of reverse discrimination going on here. If you play football and can put two sentences together you are SO intelligent and well-rounded and cultured! No, it's not true. Look at Terry Bradshaw, heh. Seriously, let's not pretend that our athletes would all be Rhodes scholars if they weren't pros.
Time to debut a new feature: the O. Henry quote of the post! I am perhaps the only person who really likes O. Henry in sports blog land, so I'm going to randomly insert quotes from his stories into my posts. This quote comes courtesy of "The Adventures of Shamrock Jolnes", a knock-off of Sherlock Holmes:
"I give you every credit; but how do you know he was leaving for the South tonight?"
"In his breast pocket" said the great detective, "something large and oval made a protuberance. Good Liquor is scarce on trains, and it is a long journey from New York to Fairfax County."