Retired New York Giants star Tiki Barber got emotional in his defense of the National Football League, declaring that the NFL is “not racist” after former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against it and several teams.
The Miami Dolphins fired Flores on Jan. 10 after he delivered two of the best seasons they’ve had in years. As a result, many in Black America expressed their belief that Flores’ firing had less to do with his record and more to do with his race.
Flores sued the NFL and three of its teams on Feb 1, claiming that “racist hiring practices by the league have left it racially segregated and managed like a plantation.” At the end of the regular season, only one of 32 NFL teams was led by a Black coach – Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.
The lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court sought class-action status and unspecified damages from the league, the Dolphins, the Denver Broncos and the New York Giants, along with unidentified individuals.
There are six teams that have never hired a Black general manager or head coach full-time. Although the Giants did have a Black general manager, they have never had a full-time Black head coach in their history, MSN reported.
“I just don’t think that the Maras, who I’ve known for 25 years, are racist,” Barber said, discussing the family that owns the Giants during his CBS sports talk show, “Tiki & Tierney,” on Feb. 2. Barber co-hosts the show with TV personality Brandon Tierney. The Mara family founded the Giants in 1925 and it has remained in their family for several generations. Barber played as a running back for the New York Giants from 1997 to 2006.
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“I’m not willing to scream and yell that the Giants, an organization that I revere, that I had a great relationship with, to say that they’re racist simply because they haven’t had a black head coach or a black quarterback,” Barber said.
The Maras “embraced me like I was family,” Barber said. “I know them intimately, so when I say I don’t believe they’re racist, it’s because I know they’re not … I know they’re not a racist organization.”
Black America went after Barber on Twitter for what some say was a “coon” defense of the NFL owners.
“The thing about Tiki Barber and other black players and coaches defending the white owners is, it’s never reversed. Whenever something blatantly racist happens to us, no other white players or owners come out and say, ‘yes this was a racist attack/move/institution’,” tweeted Matthew Gaskin (@Matthew_Gaskin).
“Tiki Barber on CNN cooning,” tweeted JA504.eth (@JA5O4).
“Of course, Tiki Barber would get his Sambo ass on CNN to defend the NY Giants,” tweeted Ebony Noor #Revolt (@DarlingEbony).