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Tiki Barber: “I just don’t think that the Maras are racist”

Ex-Giant defends ownership after lawsuit by Brian Flores

Tiki Barber Visits “Mornings With Maria”
Tiki Barber
Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former New York Giants star running back and current co-host of the ‘Tiki & Tierney’ show on WFAN Sports Radio Tiki Barber came to the Giants’ defense on Wednesday following Brian Flores lawsuit.

“I just don’t think that the Maras, who I’ve known for 25 years, are racist,” Barber said.

On the organization

Barber played for the Giants from 1997 to 2006.

“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. ...

“I can’t sit here, with conviction, like Stephen A. [Smith], who doesn’t know anybody in the Giants’ organization and claim that they’re a racist organization. I would never do that. The only reason I would do that is because I’m trying to make a point, and my point is that Brian Flores is trying to make a point.”

On the Mara family

Barber said he knows the family “intimately.”

“I just don’t think that the Maras, who I’ve known for 25 years, are racist. I don’t,” he said.

Barber told a story about being asked to go to Westchester to see Wellington Mara just before his death in 2005.

“I went to his bedside and I just tell him thank you for making me a Giant. The fact that the Maras, and I always said this with the Tisches as well, they embraced me like I was family. 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.”

On the Brian Daboll hiring

“They [the Giants] hired a general manager [Joe Schoen] who had an idea of who he wanted to be the head coach, and Brian Flores is lighting a match to the Giants’ organization and to the league, which needs to be explored, I’m not saying this doesn’t need to be explored,” Barber said. “We’ve known this for two decades. The fact that there’s a Rooney Rules proves that we know this is an issue. The Rooney Rule is not perfect. It’s never going to be perfect because the pipeline for Black candidates is not wide enough, is not big enough. At the end of the day you try to do the best you can, and I think the league and the Giants, they’re trying to do the best they can.”