Tiki Barber ties the knot with Traci Lynn Johnson

Tiki Barber threw away his NFL career by retiring in his prime, and then he threw away a budding TV career after all the buzz about his relationship with a young blonde bombshell, Traci Lynn Johnson. Now he married her just eight days after his divorce was finalized, so at least he gets a pretty nice WAG on his arm.

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Tiki Barber stirs up controversy with ‘Anne Frank’ remark

New York Giants runningback Tiki Barber attends a news conference following his final NFL football game in Philadelphia, in this January 7, 2007 file photo. The all-time leading rusher, took the first step towards returning to the NFL on Tuesday and ending a four-year retirement. Barber filed paperwork with the league to remove him from the reserve-retirement list, according to a report on Sports Illustrated magazine’s website, clearing the way for a return. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine/Files (UNITED STATES – Tags: HEADSHOT SPORT FOOTBALL)

Tiki Barber clearly has fallen on some rough times. It’s because of his own actions that he’s fallen on those rough times, but I digress.

Now, he would like to play football again and he’s trying to repair an image tarnished when he decided to leave his pregnant wife to be with his 23-year-old girlfriend. The problem is that he can’t stop putting his foot in his mouth long enough to repair said image.

While recently trying to explain the media scrutiny that he’s received since leaving his wife (did we mention she was pregnant at the time?), Barber told L. Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated that he moved into the attic of his agent, Mark Lepselter, to escape the prying eyes of the public. Doug Farrar of Yahoo! Sports breaks down the comment that has landed Tiki in some hot water.

“Lep’s Jewish,” Barber allegedly said, “and it was like a reverse Anne Frank thing.”

Um, yeah. A millionaire pro football player comparing himself to a teenage Jewish Holocaust victim is going to go over about as well as Adrian Peterson’s recent “modern-day slavery” comment, but at least Peterson had a bit of context with which to defend himself. Barber’s comment was thoughtless at best and asinine at worst. It’s certainly the wrong step to take as Barber tries to rehab his image in the wake of professional and personal failures, and as he tried to convince people that he’s got a legitimate future in the NFL as a comeback story.

“Holocaust trivialization continues to spread and finds new ways and expressions that shock the conscience,” Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League said. “Tiki Barber’s personal behavior is his business. But our history and experiences are ours and deserve greater respect than being abused or perverted by Tiki Barber.

“The analogy to Anne Frank is not funny, it is outrageous and perverse. Anne Frank was not hiding voluntarily. Before she perished at age 15 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, she hid from the Nazis for more than two years, fearing every day for her life. The Frank family’s experiences, as recorded in Anne’s dairy, are a unique testimonial to the horrors of the Holocaust, and her life should never be debased or degraded by insensitive and offensive analogies.”

I thought Farrar summed up the situation perfectly in his closing paragraph:

…I don’t believe it’s anyone’s contention that Barber was actually trying to compare his situation to Anne Frank’s. But if there’s one thing people need to learn when they’re in the public eye, it’s that the life of a celebrity doesn’t have an “off” switch. If you want your words in the public record, you have to watch what you say at all times. Especially when, like Barber, your history makes you a less than sympathetic character.

What he said.

I’m sure in his down time Barber found a little irony in the situation and thought it was funny. But it’s not funny and as Farrar pointed out, in a day and age when you have to watch everything you say, it’s just not wise for a millionaire athlete to be drawing any similarities between himself and Anne Frank. He probably meant no harm by the comment but this is the problem with Barber – he just doesn’t think. It’s one of the many reasons why he’s in the mess that he’s in.

Michael Strahan vs. Peter King: The Tiki Barber Twitter War has begun

Ever since the news broke that Tiki Barber was coming out of retirement to play football again, most fans and media members have taken it upon themselves to ridicule him via blogs, Twitter and carrier pigeons. (One writer even compiled a list of 10 reasons why Barber’s un-retirement is a great thing, although the 10 reasons were all cheap shots.)

But at least one prominent media member is in Barber’s corner and that’s SI.com’s Peter King. His Twitter page reads more like a Tiki Barber fan page than a NFL reporter.

New York Giants running back Tiki Barber carries the ball against the Dallas Cowboys in the third quarter of their NFL football game in Dallas, Texas in this October 23, 2006 file photo. The all-time leading rusher, took the first step towards returning to the NFL on Tuesday and ending a four-year retirement. Barber filed paperwork with the league to remove him from the reserve-retirement list, according to a report on Sports Illustrated magazine’s website, clearing the way for a return. REUTERS/Mike Stone/Files (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

At start of 2011 season, Burress will be 34, Tiki 36. It’d be pretty interesting if the Giants bring Burress back but not Tiki.

One last thing on Tiki: If he wants to play, I think he still can. Retired healthy. No reason why he shouldn’t try. TB makes most sense.

RT @B_Frigo: Tiki did dirt when he retired, should have kept lips sealed … You’re wrong. At NBC, he was paid to call ’em as he sees ’em.

But it was this tweet that has drawn the most attention:

Strahan’s been critical of Giants on FOX. It’s like nobody hears that. Tiki criticized Eli’s leadership and Coughlin’s way. So what?

The Strahan that King is referring to is none other than Michael Strahan, a former teammate of Barber’s and someone who didn’t take kindly for King’s statements.

Strahan fired back via his own Twitter page:

@SI_PeterKing Why am I even in your conversation?? This isn’t about me so don’t make it so!!!

Regular readers know that I’m a big King fan, but I’ve got to side with Strahan on this one. When Barber criticized Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin, he was doing so because he wanted to make a name for himself in television. Barber wanted to be a TV star, which is one of the reasons he retired from football in 2007. He probably figured that he could cause a stir with his comments and thus, wasn’t shy about ripping his former quarterback and coach.

When Strahan has been critical of the Giants on FOX, it’s in a constructive manner. It’s not like he criticized Manning by saying his motivational pre-game speeches sounded “almost comical” like Barber did in an interview before the start of the ’07 season. Granted, I haven’t heard every single word that has ever come out of Strahan’s mouth about the Giants, but I’m under the impression that he keeps his comments related to the team as a whole and not about individual players.

In other words, I think King is reaching with his comparison between Barber and Strahan. One has fans’ respect, while the other has turned into the butt of jokes.

Ten reasons why Tiki Barber’s un-retirement is a great thing

How can you not love Tiki Barber? Dude retired in 2007 because of the physical toll the game took on his body (not to mention he also wanted to be a TV star), yet on Tuesday he filed paperwork with the NFL so that he could officially come out of retirement…at age 36.

I’m sorry Tiki, did you think the NFL has gotten any less physical since the last time you buckled your chinstrap?

Either way, I love the idea. In fact, here are 10 reasons why I love it.

10. The Giants needed a new towel boy.

9. For once, somebody actually stole Brett Favre’s unretirement thunder.

8. Maybe this will inspire Barry Sanders to also come out of retirement, because who among us wouldn’t pay to watch Barry lace ‘em up again?

7. He’ll stop torturing us with his “analysis” on television.

6. Last time I checked, Al Davis and Dan Snyder are still in the league…and you know they’re going to be interested.

5. Because chicks dig the fumble.

4. If things work out, he can become the spokesperson for Divorce.com. “Hi, I’m Tiki Barber reminding you that alimony isn’t cheap. Had I gone to Divorce.com, maybe I wouldn’t have had to unretire at the age of 36 and play football with men who are 10 years younger, faster and flat out better than me.”

3. He just birthed about 20 new ideas for fantasy football team names.

2. He and Charlie Sheen can promote Gatorade’s new “Tiger Blood” drink line. Because if you’re going to play running back in the NFL at age 36, you better have tiger blood in your veins.

1. This is proof that karma does, in fact, exist. You can’t cheat on your pregnant wife with a 23-year-old NBC intern and not be publicly ridiculed when you have to unretire from the NFL just because you need money to pay for your divorce.

Sorry, but Green Bay’s “G” does not stand for “greatness”

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel followed up Tiki Barber’s assertion that the “G” on the Packer helmet stands for “greatness” not “Green Bay.”

When I first heard about this greatness stuff, I asked Aaron Popkey, spokesman for the Packers, to set the record straight. He conferred with Tom Murphy, archivist at the Packers Hall of Fame.

“The Packers have no knowledge of it being anything other than Green Bay,” Popkey said. “Maybe it was Tiki Barber having some fun with it.”

Here’s the original segment:

Midwest Sports Fans puts a period at the end of this sentence…

Final thought: does anyone else think that Tiki Barber seems like the kid in elementary school who loved to know something that no one else did and loved even more running around saying “Na-na-na-na-boo-boo” and rubbing it in that he knew it and you didn’t? I think so. I also think this video sums up Tiki Barber quite well.

The fact that Yahoo! Sports let Tiki run with this segment has to be a little embarrassing. I wonder if anyone researched Tiki’s “facts” before he hit the Packer media day.

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