As he was inducted into the Giants’ ring of honor on Sunday night, Tiki Barber was loudly booed. But Barber says he’s fine with that.
“It’s going on four years now they’re booing me,” Barber said on Showtime’s Inside the NFL. “I think it stems from how I left the New York Giants. I retired at the top of my career. A lot of people didn’t want me to leave because of how effective I had become as a player, and I went directly into the broadcast booth. . . . I never wanted to compromise myself as a broadcaster by being overly friendly to the organization I played for.”
Far from being overly friendly, Barber has seemed at times to be overly critical of the Giants. Fans of the team, as well as many of his former teammates, haven’t seemed to appreciate that.
One former teammate in particular, Antonio Pierce, has said he didn’t like Barber, but Barber said that doesn’t bother him.
“It’s fine because I didn’t like him either,” Barber said of Pierce. “Antonio doesn’t like me because I criticized him for blowing an air horn when he got asked questions about how poorly the Giants’ defense was playing. That’s just unprofessional, and I tell it like it is, and I think that’s one of the issues with Giants fans: I don’t sugarcoat anything.”
Barber is certainly right that Pierce was unprofessional to blow the air horn, but the issue many Giants fans have with Barber is that he sometimes comes across like he’s going out of his way to attack the Giants.
Barber says he’s just trying to be an honest reporter.
“I’ve never wanted to come into broadcasting and be a guy who says a whole lot but says nothing,” Barber said. “I’ve always wanted to be succinct and to the point about what my opinion is, based on what my experiences are. And if people hate me for that, they hate me. I’ve never been someone who said you have to love me in order for me to do my job or you have to hate me in order for me to be able to do my job. I’ve just wanted to tell the truth as I’ve experienced it.”
Barber said he never considered skipping the ring of honor induction ceremony even though he knew he’d be booed, and that he’s proud of what he did as a Giant.
“I left every bit of myself on the football field,” Barber said. “I would challenge anybody who ever saw me play to say otherwise.”