For a guy who aspired to a career in journalism, Tiki Barber really doesn’t seem to know much about the media.
The former New York Giants running back made splashes in the media this week after a Sports Illustrated article by L. Jon Wertheim quoted Barber comparing himself to Anne Frank. Except Barber wasn’t exactly hiding away from the Nazis in a last-ditch, life or death effort at self-preservation.
He was moving into his agent’s attic with his new girlfriend, the 23-year old NBC intern who ended the father of four’s marriage and destroyed his second career at NBC.
Barber reminded the reporter that his agent, Mark Lepselter, is Jewish, which made the whole “reverse Anne Frank thing” logical. If you’re looking for Barber this weekend, check everywhere but Borders or your local library first. He doesn’t spend much time there.
This isn’t Tiki’s first time in the news in recent months. Barber’s downward spiraling TV career and morally bankrupt personal life have, ironically, taken all of his money. To solve the problem, the 36-year old “journalist” put his thinking cap on and decided: well, I guess I could play football again. He announced his intention to return to the NFL earlier this spring.
In light of Barber’s most recent abomination, it seems appropriate to take a look back and chronicle Barber’s train wreck in the last couple of years. So here it is:
After retiring as the most accomplished running back in Giants history, Barber left the team after the 2006 season after consulting with his wife. Shortly thereafter, in 2007, he joined NBC and made frequent appearances on Today and Football Night in America. So far, so good.
It starts to go downhill in 2008 when Barber was reporting on the Olympics from Beijing and appeared to make a slur at another broadcaster, Jenna Wolfe, on live TV. He also got himself in trouble with New York media that year for openly criticizing Giants head coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning. Barber, who never won a Super Bowl, questioned Manning’s leadership.
Then, in 2010, word got out that Barber was having an affair with 23-year old intern Traci Lynn Johnson while his wife was pregnant with twin girls. She split with him (while she was still pregnant) and NBC quietly released him in May 2010, only two months after his twin girls were born.
The New York Post reported that Barber is returning to the NFL because he is broke and unable to pay the divorce settlement with his wife.
The New York Giants have said that they plan to cut Barber, who they still officially retain rights to, as soon as the labor disputes in the league are settled. Even if Barber wants to come back to the NFL, it is still unclear if an NFL team wants him to.
Personally, I would love to see an NFL team pick up Barber. In the final year of his playing career, Barber complained incessantly about the wear and tear that playing running back in the NFL puts on your body. Simply put, the guy couldn’t handle the beating anymore.
Try adding four years and then seeing what happens. This is the equivalent of jumping in the ring with Mike Tyson for a million dollars. Even if Barber gets paid, he’s probably going to get killed. And for Giants fans, its going to be fun to watch.