I always knew there was something really distasteful about Tiki Barber. First of all, if you’re a football player, then be a football player. I don’t care to hear about these guys who are ultra Christian, and thanking God every two seconds. In Barber’s case, it was worse than that. Barber, a graduate of the University of Virginia was lauded coming out of college for having the highest character and ethical disposition. These possible draft picks are held up to the magnifying glass by prospective teams, especially possible first round picks, and I have seen guys who were literally dominant between the lines drop like stones because they had taken a puff of marijuana or because they scored too low on some test like the Wunderlik, which would have no bearing, say, on Percy Harvin’s ridiculous speed or Randy Moss’s all world athleticism, or Warren Sapp’s ability to get into the offensive backfield.
But Barber didn’t have those problems. In fact, if some guys aren’t smart enough, Barber was too smart. Too many heartfelt, touching stories from him on the eve of the draft. He’s an identical twin, you know? And him and Ronde, his twin brother had been together all of their lives, and can’t you practically cry Tiki a river now that he would be making millions of dollars but would not be on the same team as Ronde?
And college, except for being with Ronde and setting pretty much all of UVA’s significant offensive records, and graduating with all of these honors and being a Rhodes Scholar, in addition to a celebrity athlete was really no fun at all because for Barber, it was all work and study. But he must have been pretty popular with the ladies, they would say to him. Check that–for Barber it was all work, study, and prayer because he was a virgin and sex was this blessed event between two married people and he was a devout Christian who would be abstinent until he got married.
Tiki Barber, star running back, star student, and star Christian. And didn’t the New York Giants eat all that shit up–the storied, serious New York Giants–their owners, the Mara family, all about God, and crack cocaine and card games. Did you know that’s why they own the team? Because they won it playing poker. Or that they won their first Super Bowl largely on the strength of Lawrence Taylor’s coke induced superman style heroics? The Giants always love a solid citizen. But that would never stop them from drafting a football player, like Christian Peter, a violent rapist who could fill for them a depth role as a backup on the defensive line.
Barber was the man for them, though. They saw in him a football player who could give a nice interview, who was always ready to offer a well said sound bite, and who they could always hold up as the ideal Giant–a family man who did not have premarital sex.
Back to Barber as abstinent. Most boys work very hard to lose their virginity. And then here’s this football star announcing that he isn’t going to have premarital sex. Sorry, but that’s not normal. And it never sounded right.
Barber had all world talent on the field, but well into his career, he still had a problem holding on to the football. And any coach worth his salt would tell you that fumbling is unacceptible, no matter what.
If you fumble my football I will break my foot off in your John Brown hind parts, and then you will run a mile!
You will remember coach Boone’s famous speech from Remember the Titans. Well, Tom Coughlin, who came to the Giants with a reputation that would make coach Boone look like a player’s coach, made it a priority, his first priority, upon taking over the team, was curing Barber of the drops. He changed they way he carried the football, and often spoke publicly of how important it was that Barber change this part of his game.
If anything, Barber was resentful. Coughlin had cured Barber’s fumbles, and under his guidance, Tiki Barber became one of the top players in the league, and a probable hall of famer. Barber has never publicly acknowledged or thanked Coughlin for improving his game, and in fact, was vocal on a few occasions when Coughlin’s job was on the line. Barber, a natural player’s spokesman, was quick to trash Coughlin for being too tough on guys and for treating players like children.
Barber had a public dispute with teammate Michael Strahan, which divided the team. When he retired, he took parting shots at Eli Manning, calling his command in the huddle “comical” and further insulted Coughlin’s coaching style. All the Giants did that following year without Barber was beat the undefeated Patriots in the Super Bowl, led by Manning, who beat the Patriots in the 2 minute drill with all the pressure on his shoulders.
Ask the Patriots if they thought it was funny. But I thought it was hilarious. It was great. the Patriots lost, and Tiki Barber, the Rhodes Scholar, got to watch his old hard ass coach lead his old knucklehead team to a historic victory and a visit to the White House, while Barber yucked it up with his giant head and stuffed shirt/pocket square look with a bunch of talking heads on daytime television.
It turns out that Tiki and his twin, Ronde, aren’t so identical. Ronde has a Super Bowl ring, for one, and he didn’t go from publicly abstinent to fucking his baby sitter and leaving his 8 months pregnant wife.
If it’s what Barber wanted, then good for him. If he wanted to quit on football one year before he got a ring, and if he didn’t wanna have sex, and is now throwing his marriage away over it, and if he likes trashing people who only wanted the best for him, and to campaign for them to be fired, then he’s been pretty successful, overall. Below, is Barber’s 23 year old babysitter/lover. Not bad, but he didn’t have to wait 35 years for it.
That’s the real Tiki Barber, not some perfect poster boy in a Giants jersey.