Mike Francesa, Tiki Barber Trade Barbs On WFAN
NEW YORK (WFAN) – Former Giants running back Tiki Barber and his agent Mark Lepselter joined Mike Francesa for a contentious interview on Wednesday.
The New York Giants’ career leading rusher has spent the past four months working out in an attempt to make a comeback, although his chances rest on a new collective bargaining agreement.
The interview became heated at times, especially when the topic turned to Barber’s broadcasting career.
Barber: “I think you’re throwing a little bit of hyperbole out there, Mike, because I didn’t have a ‘big failure’ in broadcasting. I think if you laid the stage as you and Chris at the time tried to, that I was (to) be the next Matt Lauer, yeah, you could say it was a failure. But I had a lot of fulfillment at NBC. I did a lot of great stories that I think had impact over the three years that I was there.”
Barber: “You’re putting it in simple terms. And if that’s how you need to do it, Michael, fine, you put it in simple terms. But I don’t consider my time at NBC a failure.”
Francesa: “The guys at NBC, and I know all of them, they felt that you did a bad job and they said that they thought you were entitled. I mean, they were not complimentary about your work. Let’s not run away from that, this is part of the story.”
Barber: “If you tell me who it was and you get that person on air, I will have a debate with them. I think that’s cowardly of someone to talk behind someone’s back and not tell them, because the truth of the matter is, I don’t know what I could have done better at NBC.”
“I respect you because I think you have a great knowledge about sports and about the game of football. Do you always do it the correct way? I’m not sure. Do you interview people the correct way, because we’re talking about my life here. I’m not so sure.”
“Mike, I understand what you’re saying. You’re not wrong but you’re also not right. Because to characterize the three years that I had at NBC as abject failure is just wrong. It’s just not correct.”
Barber talked about his popularity in New York:
“You know, I grew up in Virginia, where people are cordial about everything that they do. I came and lived in New York for ten years, played in New York for ten years and realized that every single person here has an opinion. I can’t chance people’s opinions about me based on, honestly I don’t even know what.
“And so, does it hurt me? Yeah, it does, because I think in some ways people are not appreciating who I was as a player. But does it hurt me that they have an opinion that’s negative against me? Not necessarily, because they’re all entitled to it, just like I’m entitled to my own opinions about you or Joe Schmo down the street.”
And why some Giants fans dislike him:
“I’m sure it probably has to do with the fact that I criticized Tom Coughlin and he goes and wins a Super Bowl. Or the conversations that I had about Eli Manning (that) got blown out of proportion. Things like that (where) people felt like I, as someone with knowledge, was attacking somebody that I just left, when it really wasn’t. It was just giving my opinion about things, and I’ve always been opinionated. You’ve known that, Mike.”
What did you think of the interview? Did Barber’s ‘failure’ as a broadcaster spur him to unretire? Leave a comment below.