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Tiki’s Anne Frank comments create a stir

Tiki Barber AP

On Wednesday, we included in a blurb regarding the feelings of former Giants running back Tiki Barber’s teammates a quote from Barber that, in many respects, sums up the Michael Scott-style awkwardness that periodically has emerged throughout Tiki’s career.

Talking about time spent huddled in agent Mark Lepselter’s attic after news broke of Tiki’s failed marriage and his affair with a former NBC intern, Barber told Sports Illustrated, “Lep’s Jewish, and it was like a reverse Anne Frank thing.”

As L. Jon Wertheim of SI aptly put it, the remark shows that Barber “has the wit and smarts to make an Anne Frank allusion and the artlessness to liken himself — an adulterer trying to elude gossip columnists — to a Holocaust victim.”

Per ESPNNewYork.com, the Anti-Defamation League sees more than artlessness in Tiki’s comments.  “Holocaust trivialization continues to spread and finds new ways and expressions that shock the conscience,” national director Abraham Foxman 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.”

Lepselter predictably is defending his client.  “In a world where nothing surprises me, where things get completely blown out of proportion, this only adds to the list,” Lepselter told ESPNNewYork.com.  “[Tiki] was shedding light on going back to that time when he was literally trapped, so to speak, in my attic for a week.  Nothing more, nothing less.

“Let me remind all those who want to make this more than it is:  Tiki was a guest of [president] Shimon Peres in Israel five years ago.”

In claiming that folks are blowing Barber’s comments out of proportion, Lepselter possibly is blowing the criticism out of proportion.  No one has accused Barber of being an anti-Semite.  Instead, he picked the wrong topic for an attempt at humor based on the fact that he went into hiding after his marital infidelities game to light.

As a smart guy who is just smart enough to outsmart himself, Barber’s clumsiness isn’t surprising.  Though we detect no malice in his words, he needs to be smart enough to know that certain topics probably are off limits when trying to find a way to characterize a predicament resulting directly from his own decisions and actions.

We can only imagine how Tiki will eventually describe the persecution he feels he’s experiencing after making what he believed to be a harmless remark.

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42 Responses to “Tiki’s Anne Frank comments create a stir”
  1. whatsafairway says: May 26, 2011 8:22 PM

    Malice in his comments? No, I would agree there’s no malice.

    This moron isn’t smart enough to say something with malice.

    He’s just a common variety idiot roaming the streets lucky he lives were freedom of speech rules the day, even if you’re an imbecile.

  2. philyeagles5 says: May 26, 2011 8:25 PM

    who cares? this guy is a loser and everything that comes out of his mouth is wrong.

  3. suite34 says: May 26, 2011 8:30 PM

    “I’m being persecuted for my beliefs, just like Jesus Christ. It’s ok, Jesus was Jewish and so is my agent.” –Tiki Barber

  4. dewalt2990 says: May 26, 2011 8:33 PM

    Tiki should join the UFL.

  5. Rhode Island Patriots Fan says: May 26, 2011 8:34 PM

    I never thought—until now—that a player could make a worse analogy than Adrian Peterson likening the NFL to “modern day slavery.”

  6. netrunner2k2 says: May 26, 2011 8:37 PM

    Is there anything this moron won’t say or do? Well, except be a good father, husband, and teammate.

  7. jo3jo says: May 26, 2011 9:12 PM

    In all fairness don’t think the Anne Frank line was taken the way he meant it. He was holed up in an attic hiding, but I think he wasn’t so much likening himself to a Holocaust survivor as he was suggesting that the media hunting him down were like the Nazis. Still not the most politically correct comments, but it’s not like he questioned whether Osama really had anything to do with 9-11.

  8. tfbuckfutter says: May 26, 2011 9:25 PM

    I got a joke.

    What’s the difference between Anne Frank and Tiki Barber?

    She wasn’t an idiot.

  9. henryd3rd says: May 26, 2011 9:39 PM

    As usual Tiki’s timing is way off. He leaves his wife and children while she is pregnant for an intern at his work place. Bad timing. Looses his job at NBC during a depression. Bad timing. Decides to come out of retirement and return to the NFL during a work stoppage. Bad timing. Opening his mouth at the wrong time all the time. Bad timing.

  10. Kave Krew says: May 26, 2011 9:41 PM

    Now it’s time for Tiki to become Helen Keller……

  11. commandercornpone says: May 26, 2011 9:49 PM

    i dont like tiki. but that comment wasnt worth giving him grief over.

  12. stealthjunk says: May 26, 2011 9:51 PM

    Please lord let the lockout end so we don’t have to read such idiotic stories.

    The agent is right — this is being blown way out of proportion. All the “Anti-Defamation League” does is sit around all day and wait to smear anyone who makes any reference to Jews or the Holocaust, no matter the innocence of the context. They’re simply opportunists who use these stupid comments to remind everyone of the Holocaust, as if anyone hasn’t heard of it or doesn’t think it was terrible. Without blowing these comments out of proportion, they would be out of their jobs. Tiki clearly was not referencing Jews in any way. The reference was to being trapped in an attic. Only when the Anti-Defamation League issues their overblown reaction does anyone care.

  13. kazwhopper says: May 26, 2011 9:52 PM

    It’s amazing that people though he was supposed to have such a great broadcasting career when he’s such an intensely unlikable person.

  14. ianwhetstone says: May 26, 2011 9:55 PM

    Quite a few people need to lighten up, Francis.

  15. raiderapologist says: May 26, 2011 10:16 PM

    Barber just can’t seem to stop tripping over his own giant head. He quit football too soon, missed out on a ring, ruined his broadcasting career and his marriage, and generally proved he is the turd most people thought he was. At least now we all know that “Atiim Kiambu Hakeem-Ah” means “assbag” in English.

  16. nygiantstones says: May 26, 2011 10:19 PM

    Tiki sucks.

  17. Deb says: May 26, 2011 11:11 PM

    Tiki’s comment about Ann Frank was completely tactless. He’s a trained broadcaster who should have known better. He should have just apologized for his thoughtlessness. Instead, Lepselter was even more offensive in defending him. The line about Tiki being Peres’s guest sounds embarrassingly similar to “Some of my best friends are Jewish.” And Tiki was not “literally trapped” in Lepselter’s attic. He was just too gutless to walk past hoards of reporters and say, “No comment.” That hardly compares with being sent to your death in a concentration camp.

  18. ee00ee says: May 26, 2011 11:16 PM

    I think he was surprisingly accurate in saying it’s a “reverse Anne Frank thing”
    Let’s compare the 2 situations:
    Anne- innocent young girl
    Tiki- tainted “old” man

    Anne- hid to get away from what others want to do to her
    Tiki- hid to get away from what he did to others

    Anne- was as close to her family as could be
    Tiki- abandoned his family

    Anne- was Jewish and hidden by others
    Tiki- is an “other” being hidden by a Jew

    Anne- had a promising career ahead of her
    Tiki- has a promising career behind him

    Anne- died hidden away at a concentration camp out of the public view
    Tiki- “died” in front of the public on TV

    So as you can see Tiki pretty much was speaking the truth. His situation is very much like a bizarro world direct opposite of what went on with Anne Frank.

  19. borderline1988 says: May 26, 2011 11:32 PM

    This comment was blown a little bit out of proportion.
    But we’re talking about a public figure who likes to make headlines. He wants to be in the action. And those people have to watch what they say in those circumstances.
    Simple as that. Say anything about the Holocaust on TV, and you’re going to get villified for it.

  20. denverhighrize says: May 26, 2011 11:41 PM

    Hello Tiki here. I wanted to pass along my friend Ray Lewis’ sentiment. Please allow me and all other NFL’ers to play otherwise murder and crime will rise in your city.

  21. frankvzappa says: May 26, 2011 11:42 PM

    not sure why everybody is so sensitive, considering the holocaust never happened…

  22. jgrange says: May 26, 2011 11:44 PM

    Who the f cares about this, really? It’s not a joke that should be made public but if it were said between my friends, I would’ve chuckled. Big f’ing deal. People need to get over themselves. Everybody is always waiting for people to slip and say something possibly offensive so they can bemoan about this and that and hope that person donates money to their cause. Everybody’s looking for a handout.

  23. hobartbaker says: May 27, 2011 12:11 AM

    His head is shaved, I guess he just recently emerged from a concentration camp.

  24. purpleronin says: May 27, 2011 12:24 AM

    This coming from the guy who called his female colleague a c*nt on national TV during the Olympics. He should be enshrined in Canton for gaining so many yards while always having his foot in his mouth – and his head up his a**!

  25. hobartbaker says: May 27, 2011 12:27 AM

    Teekey Sod, The Demon Barber of Bleep Street.

  26. hobartbaker says: May 27, 2011 12:28 AM

    These days for Tiki a “soundbite” is something that sinks it’s teeth into his saggy old ass and won’t let go.

  27. nothimagain says: May 27, 2011 12:29 AM

    Judging by the amount of comments it seems the only stir Tiki created is in the minds of some over-obsessive media members.
    A lot of fans aren’t dumb enough to take the bait every time someone dumb says something stupid. Heck, this fan didn’t even bother to read what Tiki said.

  28. bears0492 says: May 27, 2011 1:22 AM

    i lol’d

  29. cup0pizza says: May 27, 2011 4:04 AM

    Once a scumbag, always a scumbag.

  30. jw731 says: May 27, 2011 4:39 AM

    The real question is……Is why SI is talking to him at all……..Obvious, he was overated as a player, co-worker, husband, teammate, none of this would have been published if he wasn’t a complete tool, this is a non-man looking for sympathy comparing himself to a 15 year old girl, writing a diary during the holocost, i blame the SI writers as for publishing this as i do him for his idiotic statements, and i blame PFT as well, anything to get a few hits on twitter…….All one in the same

  31. spharrgcs says: May 27, 2011 6:38 AM

    Idiot. Tiki, you’re old and unemployed. Please go away.

  32. monsterscream says: May 27, 2011 7:12 AM

    While his comments were incredibly ignorant, if he makes a few people revisit the plight of Anne Frank (which I just did), were they really that destructive? We live in the social media era where any press is good press.

  33. dd393 says: May 27, 2011 7:19 AM

    Tiki should join the Jets. He’d fit right in.

  34. oldbyrd says: May 27, 2011 7:20 AM

    Its a shame Tiki is capable of being so much more than a blabber mouth.

  35. oxycode30 says: May 27, 2011 7:32 AM

    When the ADL chimes in I know whose side I’m on. (It ain’t their’s).
    Actually Tiki made a funny and the PC police picked him up for it. Shame. We need to lighten up as a society.

  36. halasfan says: May 27, 2011 7:35 AM

    Man everyone is blowing this out of proportion. It reminds me of a time when I refferred to slavery as “a boat ride and a job.” A Bunch of people at work got all upset over nothing.

    c’mon man.

  37. patpatriotagain says: May 27, 2011 7:39 AM

    barber went on to say that since sammy davis jr. was a black jew, barber, himself, could not be racist.

  38. crispypigskin says: May 27, 2011 7:52 AM

    The G stands for Greatness

  39. bosfaninva says: May 27, 2011 9:15 AM

    I’ve known Tiki was really a moron ever since he appeared as a judge on Iron Chef America. To call him commentary witless would be an insult to the witless.

    Look for him to take a page out of the Sarah Palin playbook and say that he has been a victim of blood libel. (Might as well double down on the Judaic allusions.)

  40. Deb says: May 27, 2011 10:26 AM

    @nothimagain …

    No, Mr. Superior, you can’t be bothered to come to a Tiki Barber thread to comment like the rest of the dimwits. It’s our imagination that you’re here … commenting. :roll:

  41. jackfnburton says: May 27, 2011 11:52 AM

    Athletes + History = Stupidity.

  42. mogogo1 says: May 27, 2011 6:25 PM

    The Anne Frank bit is getting all the attention, but the amount of spin and revisionist history in the SI article is amazing.

    Remember when Tiki claimed in court he couldn’t afford alimony and child support? In the article he claims he’s just fine money-wise and not coming back for the cash.

    Remember how he left his wife 8 months pregnant? In the article he sums it up as “it was a bad marriage, so I left.”

    Remember all the on-air gaffes including the Olympic fiasco that got him canned from broadcasting? In the article he claims it was all a conspiracy against him.

    He also blames NY fans for turning on him, basically saying they don’t like athletes to speak their minds. It’s NYC… is he kidding?

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