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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The NFL Owners’ Lockout Lunacy


So this is what it has come to: The NFL now has a plan on the table for an 8-game season. If the current labor impasse lingers through the summer, the plan is to start an 8-game season in mid-November with jury-rigged rosters and unprepared players. Woo-hoo! Are you ready for some football?


Meanwhile, the NFL owners, who instituted the current lockout in an effort to claw back $1 billion or so in revenues off the top of the now-expired Collective Bargaining Agreement with the players, now find themselves in the comical position of suing the players for dissolving their own union, the NFLPA.
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Sex Offender Limbo

For Pete Townsend, it could be worse. At least he isn’t living under a bridge.

On New Year’s Day, a Florida-based child abuse prevention group called Child called on the NFL to replace the featured musical act in its upcoming Super Bowl halftime show. That musical act, iconic ’60s classic rock band The Who, is led by Townsend, who was arrested by British police in 2003 on charges of possessing child pornography, later cleared of those charges by London’s Metropolitan Police, and eventually placed on the UK Violent and Sexual Offender Registry for five years as part of a formal police caution.

In making his request to the NFL, Child founder and CEO Evin Daly stated, “I’m a fan of the band, I grew up with The Who. Pete Townshend is the only issue, and the issue is that he’s a former registered sex offender. The issue is, it sends the wrong message to American families.”
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Heroes at Home

There was an ad on TV during a break in Thursday night’s NFL game. A man identified as Ty Pennington was addressing the audience directly, making a charity pitch for disadvantaged families. I wasn’t really following the message, but something in it—some disconnect between the images and the words—kept drawing my attention. Here’s what the man was saying:

“I want to tell you a story about a little girl. A little girl who’s going to wake up on Christmas morning and her daddy won’t be there. But will Christmas be there? Will she have a warm jacket to wear? Will she have shoes that fit? Or even a toy?”

And it took me a while to realize that the narrator wasn’t talking about victims of a disaster or orphans in some distant, impoverished country. This Ty Pennington was talking about the children of active-service military personnel. The missing daddy was in Afghanistan. It was an ad for a Sears charity program called the “Heroes at Home Wish Registry.” Viewers were being encouraged to send gift cards to the children of military personnel.
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Please Take This House

The Pontiac Silverdome

If you are a homeowner in the United States, you may have noticed that we are in the midst of a vast, nationwide experiment being conducted to determine what things are actually worth. In the recent past, no one worried much about what their things were worth, if those things were buildings and/or properties.

What were they worth? More than they were worth yesterday.

Unfortunately, those days are gone. They’re as gone as all those 2007 episodes of “Flip This House” which A&E was forced to pull permanently from syndication after it was revealed that featured local developer Sam Leccima was a fraud. Sam didn’t own those houses he claimed to have sold on the show, his renovations were fake, and his profits came solely from scammed investors in his “Leccima Real Estate Company.” Sam didn’t even own a real estate license.
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