The Curious Case of Tiki Barber

There is something about Tiki Barber that resists connection, something that just won’t be loved.

On a Sunday night in September of last year, the New York Giants welcomed 30 players, coaches, and executives into the new Giants Ring of Honor in New Meadowlands Stadium. The fans cheered lustily for the great and the obscure alike, including Lawrence Taylor, who had recently been charged with felony statutory rape, the outcome of a sordid Holiday Inn encounter between Taylor, a vicious pimp, and an underage girl. But the same crowd booed Tiki Barber.

In June of this year, Plaxico Burress, a gifted wide receiver notorious for missing team meetings and sitting out practices to nurse vague injuries, was released from prison after serving eighteen months on a concealed weapons charge. A number of his teammates—including Brandon Jacobs and Justin Tuck—appealed to management to bring him back. When Tiki Barber announced his intentions to return to football for the 2011 season, no former teammate vouched for him. A couple went out of their way to deride him in interviews.
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