At one time, Tiki Barber was a great NFL Player and the star running back for the New York Giants. A three-time pro bowler, Tiki had it all. He was a playmaker on and off the field, and a revered leader in the New York sports community. He had media charm, a refined eloquence, and an undeniably commanding presence.
He had a record-breaking year in 2005 with 1,900 yards on the ground and 2,290 yards from scrimmage, the second most ever in NFL history. But after another strong outing in 2006-2007, he abruptly decided to leave the game behind for a seat on Good Morning America. He wanted to step away while his body was still healthy, and decided that a career in television would afford him enough that he would never have to set foot on a NFL sideline again.
Tiki maintained his legacy as a great Giant until he decided to take cheap shots at former teammates. He had he right to question Eli Manning's leadership capabilities, but why do it in the national spotlight? Even if I were a disgruntled teammate, I would have never done what Tiki did in such a fashion that was so disloyal to my team.
When Tiki left the Giants, our team chemistry improved, culminating in a Super Bowl XLII victory behind a Quarterback who allegedly "lacked leadership." How was he in a position to question leadership abilities when he circulated reports mid-season stating that he would retire at the end of the season? While I do not regard Eli as a "franchise quarterback," I do know that he would never quit on his team in the heart of a season. If his reputation was not tarnished enough, the worst had yet to come for Tiki.
Tiki and his former wife, Ginny, were married for 11 years. It seemed like the perfect marriage to outsiders. When Ginny was EIGHT MONTHS PREGNANT WITH TWINS -- I WILL REPEAT THAT -- EIGHT MONTHS PREGNANT WITH TWINS, he decided to leave her for a former NBC intern (Traci Johnson): an affair that he was having throughout Ginny's pregnancy. To make matters worse, Tiki and Ginny already had two other children A.J., and Chason. So let me get this straight, he left his wife alone eight months pregnant and also left her with their two other children. To be honest, I don't know about his specific situation at home, but it does not seem to be a justifiable position. No matter how you spin the story, Tiki was not going to come out of this smelling like roses.
Not only did Tiki lose his appeal, marketability, and all sponsorship deals, but also he was fired two weeks after his affair surfaced. Now, he is realistically about as employable on television as Steve Phillips was after his affair. He is no longer able to be involved in television and still has to pay alimony for four children -- what exactly to do? Probably the answer is he is going to try and get into good enough shape to play the game of football again in hope to make up the income he has lost.
Note to Tiki -- grown men play the game of football and you need to become a grown man again to play this game again. If you want to play in the NFL again its all on you and as disappointed as I am, I wish you nothing but the best. Lets hope you can as they say... Man Up.
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