NFL players frequently brush off criticism in the media by noting that the critics never played the game. So it can sting players when they face media criticism from commentators who were former players.
That’s especially true when the former players were former teammates, and that’s what has Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora upset right now.
Umenyiora says former Giants Michael Strahan (who now works for FOX) and Antonio Pierce (who now works for ESPN) have crossed the line in their criticisms of the Giants this year.
“They played the game before,” Umenyiora told the New York Post. “They know what it’s like . . . and it makes me question how real and how authentic they really, really are. They know better than to come out and say some of the things that they’ve said.”
Strahan and Pierce have both offered comments this season saying Giants players Justin Tuck and Brandon Jacobs should have toughed it out and played rather than sitting out with injuries. Umenyiora thinks that kind of criticism is unacceptable.
Umenyiora’s anger is reminiscent of the Giants players who became angry with former Giant Tiki Barber for criticizing the team after he retired and got a job at NBC. Pierce and Strahan were among the Giants who didn’t like Barber questioning them after he retired, and now Umenyiora wishes Pierce and Strahan would shut up.
“They need to stop it,” Umenyiora said. “You can’t question a guy’s toughness.”